PORTLAND – No one needed a calendar Friday night to realize that summer is on the run.

Today may feel like a day in June, but the crowds who were on the sidewalks downtown for the First Friday Art Walk could sense that autumn now rules the evenings, with a chilly wind blowing down Congress Street and through the Old Port.

That means Friday’s event was likely the last big art walk of the year, since Maine’s winter cold tends to thin the crowds.

At least it went out with a bang, led by a rollicking, roving performance by New York’s Asphalt Orchestra, a kind of marching band, minus any semblance of uniforms and tinged with a bit of anarchy.

The group rolled down Congress Street to Monument Square, then back up Congress Street, followed by a large crowd.

For Leo Pelletier, owner of the Mainely Art Gallery, October’s art walk means the looming end of nights with scores of shoppers — which he said hasn’t necessarily translated into plenty of buyers.

“There have been a lot of lookers,” Pelletier said, “but nobody’s really spending much money.”

Pelletier said the monthly art walks might at least plant seeds in the minds of some of the strollers, enticing them to come back when the economy gets better.

Across Congress Street, David Bruenjes said he was doing OK financially on Friday, taking a break from protesting with the Occupy Maine group in Monument Square to juggle three torches for spare change and dollar bills.

Bruenjes, who insists that he hasn’t gotten burned by the torches, works the First Friday Art Walks and entertains visitors who come to Portland by cruise ship. While the money keeps a tent over his head — he’s in the group of protesters who are sleeping in Lincoln Park — he said the entertaining is secondary to the protesting.

“If you are absolutely happy with the way that Washington is representing us, with companies running America, you don’t need to come” to the protest, he said.

Nearby, Jo Coyne, 67, was enjoying the musical entertainment that Occupy Maine had brought in — the Portland-based band Butcher Boy — even if she clearly wasn’t in the prime demographic for the neo-punk group.

Coyne said her partner, Linwood Ashton, has helped her appreciate a wide range of music, although they were really waiting for the Asphalt Orchestra to hit the street.

A few minutes later, Butcher Boy packed up as the Asphalt Orchestra approached.

Patrick O’Connor, one of Occupy Maine’s organizers, said members of the Asphalt Orchestra assured him they were in solidarity with the protest, but when the band headed out of Monument Square and back up Congress Street, it took a lot of the crowd with it.

Occupy Maine went on with its daily “general assembly” anyway, with updates on new groups offering support and an appeal from O’Connor for anyone with the ability to deal with Internet issues to help correct glitches that were hurting the live streaming of events in Monument Square.

The protesters tied into the First Friday Art Walk by visiting gallery owners and asking them to leave out fliers declaring, “We are the 99%,” the occupiers’ rallying cry that the country’s richest 1 percent are profiting at the expense of everyone else.

They found mostly sympathetic ears. Virginia Rose set the fliers out at the entrance to her gallery, Rose Contemporary.

Rose said she “absolutely” agrees that the groups that are rallying across the country are right to protest when most people are struggling day to day while Wall Street executives pull down millions in bonuses.

Up the street, Dennis Gleason at Gleason Fine Art also agreed to let protesters leave fliers. He said he is also “generally sympathetic” to the protesters.

“I understand their frustration,” he said, noting that the protest evoked some nostalgia.

“I came of age in the late ’60s,” he said.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: [email protected]