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New Year's Eve celebrations across Maine cancelled, go virtual amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Corey Templeton
via Flickr
A 2017 greeting seen from across Deering Oaks Park in Portland, Maine on New Year's Eve.

New Year's Eve will look different again in Maine this year as cases of COVID-19 surge. Some communities are cancelling celebrations and others are holding them virtually.

The State Theater and Portland House of Music are cancelling their New Year's events. Still, a handful of clubs are holding in-person dance parties, pub crawls, and champagne toasts. Many venues are requiring masks, ID's and proof of a COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test. One club, Citrus, is cutting its guest count to two-thirds of capacity. Business Manager Blain Tully says they will keep a head count.

"We cater to people who are looking to have a quality dance experience, not be packed in shoulder to shoulder like sardines. We want people to have space to move and enjoy themselves," Tully says.

New Year Gorham planned to bring families together for wildlife encounters, face painting, dance groups, and musical performances. But event organizer Ginny Cross says organizers made the decision to virtually stream the indoor acts because the risk of bringing so many residents together is too high.

"All of the shows scheduled for the main stage will still go on live. I really appreciate all of the performers willing to perform in an empty hall. They're really good sports," Cross says.

Gorham's fireworks, however, will go off as planned. Downtown outdoor celebrations such as 2022 New Year's Auburn will still go on. Eastport will proceed with its annual sardine and maple leaf drop at midnight. Kennebunk will ring in the New Year with its outdoor celebration featuring a blueberry drop. And the holiday beach ball drop at Paddy Murphy's in Bangor will take place, but the city's Downtown Countdown festival is cancelled because of the pandemic.