There is not just one way to ring in the New Year.

Some people like a loud and raucous celebration. Some want to dress up and have cocktails. Others want to do something with the kids and maybe get to bed early. No matter what you’re in the mood for this New Year’s Eve, there’s probably a southern Maine event for you.

Roaring 20s are a New Years Eve trend this, with parties planned at Top of the East and RiRa in Portland, among others. Photo by Shutterstock/Lithian

There are certainly lots of traditional parties at bars and clubs, with dancing and drinks. Some will have live bands and DJs. But there are also a few less traditional events, like a spate of Roaring ’20s costume parties, since we’re heading into the year 2020. And there are some Maine-specific events, like a blueberry ball drop and fireworks over Old Orchard Beach and Freeport.

Here are a few highlights of New Year’s Eve happenings around southern Maine, to help you find the celebration that’s just right for you. All events are on New Year’s Eve (that’s Tuesday) unless otherwise noted.

ROARING GOOD TIME

We are entering the 2020s, which of course makes us think of the last ’20s, the roaring ones, with illegal gin, flappers and the like. Whether the 2020s will be as raucous and lively as the 1920s remains to be seen, but we can hope. Better yet, we can dress up in straw boater hats and fringed flapper skirts and celebrate New Year’s Eve at one of a half dozen or more Roaring ’20s parties scheduled around southern Maine. One is at the Top of the East lounge, high atop the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel in Portland, beginning at 6 p.m. People are encouraged to dress up, oysters and champagne will be on the menu, and live music will be played. There’s no cover but people can register to attend at the Top of the East Facebook page. Another Roaring 20s party will be upstairs at RiRa, the Irish pub on Commercial Street in Portland, beginning at 10 p.m. There’ll be a DJ, photo booth, dessert buffet and champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $60, available at rira.com

A giant blueberry will drop from the top of First Parish Church in Kennebunk on New Year’s Eve. Photo courtesy of The First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church

A BLUEBERRY DROP

Once upon a time, people just dropped balls from high buildings on New Year’s Eve, like the sparkly one famously lowered into Times Square in New York City. But over the years, ball droppers have gotten creative, dropping a peach in Atlanta; a Moon Pie in Mobile, Alabama; and a giant potato in Boise, Idaho. Here in southern Maine, we’ve had Steamer, the mascot of the Yarmouth Clam Festival, lowered from a church steeple for several years. This year, Steamer is on hiatus, according to clam drop organizers, but people can go to Kennebunk to find another Maine-centric New Year’s Eve descent. The free New Year’s Eve Kennebunk! celebration will include two Wild Blueberry Ball Drop ceremonies – at 9 p.m. and midnight – from atop the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church. The event starts at 7 p.m. and other activities include board games, dancing and fire pits near the church, plus live music (and free admission) at the nearby Brick Store Museum and ice skating at the covered Waterhouse Center. For more information, see the New Year’s Eve Kennebunk! Facebook page.

The Ghost of Paul Revere will play the State Theatre. Joel Page/Staff Photographer file

BIG MUSICAL BASHES

Two of Maine’s most popular rock bands, The Ghost of Paul Revere and Rustic Overtones, are teaming up for a New Year’s Eve show at the State Theatre in Portland. It’s an all-ages show starting at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m. But unless you can find tickets from someone who had a change of plans, you might be out of luck. The show sold out last week.

Or stretch your New Year’s Eve musical experience over two nights with the Maine Dead Project, playing the music of the Grateful Dead and “beyond.” They’re playing Monday and Tuesday nights at Portland House of Music. Doors open at 8 p.m. for both shows, which are for ages 21 and over. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 the day of the show or $25 for both nights. For more information, go to portlandhouseofmusic.com.

COMING IN WITH A BANG

L.L. Bean in Freeport continues its holiday-themed Northern Lights Celebration through New Year’s Eve. Starting at 11 a.m., the retailer will host a free KidNight New Year’s Eve celebration with outdoor adventure walks, live music, magic, juggling and crafts. At 6 p.m., there’s a fireworks display over Discovery Park, at a very kid-friendly time. For more info, go to llbean.com.

If fireworks over the ocean are more your style, head to the free Last Blast New Year’s Eve Beach Party at Old Orchard Beach. There will be a bonfire on the beach starting at 4:30 p.m., along with kettle corn, cotton candy, marshmallow toasting pits and other concessions. Then, at 7:30 p.m., there will be a giant fireworks display. Get more information at the 2019 OOB365 Last Blast New Years Beach Party Facebook page.

Victoria Mansion in Portland will host its New Year’s Eve Soiree. Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

PARTY IN THE MANSION

Celebrate the New Year in high style, Victorian style that is, at the annual New Year’s Eve Soiree at Victoria Mansion in Portland. Attendees get to sip and socialize in the elegant 160-year-old historic landmark, and see spaces not usually open to the public. There’s also a DJ and live music. There’s a $55 ticket price which includes three free drinks, appetizers and a champagne toast. The event starts at 9:30 p.m. and is a fundraiser for the mansion. For more information, go to victoriamansion.org.


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