Above: People congregate on Old Orchard Beach in anticipation of a New Year’s Eve bonfire. The small fire in the background was for roasting marshmallows. (Derek Davis / Staff Photographer)

Below: Yes, that’s Steamer, the Yarmouth Clam Festival mascot (costume only, that is), doing an imitation of the ball that is dropped at Times Square by being lowered 25 feet from the bell tower at the First Universalist Church in Yarmouth on Monday night. Organizers were partly inspired by Eastport, where a sardine is dropped to ring in the New Year. (Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer)

Communities across southern Maine found ways to celebrate the approach of the new year.

On Monday at noon, the Natural Resources Council of Maine hosted its annual Maine Polar Bear Plunge. After going for a run, participants plunged into the waters off Portland’s East End Beach at noon. Now that’s a party.

On Monday night, Yarmouth held its first-ever Clam Drop at the First Universalist Church on Main Street.

Freeport welcomed the new year with fireworks, children’s crafts and live performances at the L.L. Bean campus.

There were more pyrotechnics in Portland, where the Portland Pirates staged an indoor fireworks display at the Cumberland County Civic Center after the game between the Pirates and the Worcester Sharks.