A new year is coming! A new year is coming!

I feel like Paul Revere.

But it’s coming!

Maybe you need to kick 2018 out the door and usher in 2019 with a liberal amount of alcohol. Or maybe 2018 was positively sublime and you need to quietly contemplate its amazingness.

Or maybe you just need fireworks. Because, fireworks.

That’s OK! The New Year is all about endings and beginnings and honoring those in your own way. Vodka is a way, but so is a Nerf war. So is a vodka-fueled Nerf war. You do you.

Turns out there’s plenty to do in Maine this New Year’s Eve. Shopping Siren found some things you might like, some your kids will like, some loud with celebration, some quietly introspective. One involves running into the ocean. In December. In Maine.

That one might need more vodka than others.

Polar Bear Dip and Dash, Portland, $35

The “dash” is a 5k at 11 a.m., the “dip” is a plunge into the ocean at noon. Proceeds benefit the Natural Resources Council of Maine and its work to combat climate change. There will be coffee. The NRCM notes that it’ll be hot coffee. Because, sure, that’ll help.

Sugarloaf evening celebration at the Widowmaker, Carrabassett Valley, $25

Evening fireworks, hors d’oeuvres and a midnight champagne toast, plus live music from a seven-piece reggae/rock collective. This really should have been called “Ringing in with Reggae,” but I’m not part of Sugarloaf’s marketing team, so.

Sugarloaf kids’ celebration, Carrabassett Valley, $5

Got little ones? Sugarloaf’s got you covered. Party starts at 7:30 p.m., with a magician at 8:30 and fireworks at 9:15. The real magic involves convincing your kids that it’s actually midnight when the fireworks go off.

L.L.Bean’s KidNight Celebration, Freeport, free

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., L.L.Bean will offer a ton of family-friendly activities, including crafts, a juggling show, a concert and fireworks. There will also be free hot chocolate, which I’m not saying is the sole reason I’m thinking of going. But it’s definitely the sole reason I’m thinking of going.

New Year’s Auburn, free

To help mark its sesquicentennial (that’s 150 years) in 2019, Auburn will host its first New Year’s Auburn celebration. The event starts at 6 p.m. on Main Street and includes live music, cash bars, food trucks and midnight fireworks. It’s bound to be a great way to kick off 2019. Or to kick 2018 to the curb. However you want to think about it.

Sapphire Nightclub celebration, Auburn, $10

Doors open at 8 p.m. and close at 2 a.m. In between you get music, DJs, a bar and grill and something billed as a “massive balloon drop” with prizes. With room for up to 700 people, it’ll be the biggest NYE party in the state. Says Sapphire. I have no way to verify that there isn’t a place in, like, Augusta with space for 701.

Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, $14 and under

From 4 to 9 p.m., you can marvel at the hundreds of thousands of lights that decorate the upper gardens. Can’t make it Monday? No problem! Gardens Aglow has the distinction of being available through Sunday as well. So feel free to celebrate the New Year a couple of days early. I won’t tell anyone.

Ramada Hotel NYE celebration, Lewiston, $35

To be honest, it sounds like a pretty standard New Year’s Eve party: music, food, champagne toast at midnight. But the Ramada’s advertising of this uses a “Back to the Future” theme, which totally piqued my interest. Forget the finger rolls, Ramada, and offer a photo op with a DeLorean. That would be a New Year’s Eve to remember.

Walk the labyrinth, Augusta, free

For a quieter, non-alcoholic NYE, the Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Augusta will offer a giant floor labyrinth, good for walking, prayer, meditation or general reflection/zoning out. Family activities, including an interactive labyrinth, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., with interfaith fellowship from 8 to 9 p.m. and walking-of-the-labyrinth from 9 to 11 p.m. Walk, contemplate, breathe. And suffer no hangover the next day.

Best find: MIKA Auburn’s New Year’s Eve party, $27

For kids in kindergarten through grade 6, this celebration runs from 6 to 10 p.m. and includes pizza, Nerf wars, video games, team games and movies. Basically Nirvana for kids. Who am I kidding? If it opened to grown-ups, I would totally be there Nerfing it up.

Think twice: Masquerade party, Auburn, free?

Margaritas in Auburn is (apparently?) holding a masquerade party on New Year’s Eve. I can tell you it’ll run from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., it’ll be in the lounge and … that’s it. That’s all I know. Margaritas posted about the party on Facebook a while back, but its promised “more details to be posted soon” has not resulted in more actual details. (As of this writing, anyway.) Their website remains mysteriously mum as well. So if you’re a go-with-the-flow kind of person — or you’re resolving to be one in 2019 — toss on an old Halloween costume and check out the party. It’s Margaritas, so alcohol, at least, shouldn’t be a problem. Traditional NYE it is!

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who almost stayed up late enough to catch Santa this year) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].


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