Rustic Overtones will do a free livestream concert on New Year’s Eve from the Sanford Performing Arts Center. Photo by Scott Mohler

This has been the year when we’ve all learned to live life a little more virtually, so it makes sense that many New Year’s Eve celebrations in Maine will take place online.

There will be comedy shows and concerts by Maine artists, streamed for your viewing pleasure. And the folks at New Year’s Eve Kennebunk will continue their tradition of dropping a wild blueberry from a bell tower, but people will watch online instead of in person.

This was also the year when we discovered everything makes good takeout, so there will be opportunities to take home celebratory goodies, or go out for a drink or bite, while adhering to COVID-19 rules and social distancing.

Here are a few ideas for locally organized things do, perhaps from your own couch, on New Year’s Eve. For the in-person ones, make sure to check and see if they are still on.

GO RUSTIC

One of Maine’s best-known and most enduring rock bands, Rustic Overtones, will do a free livestreaming concert at 7 p.m. Thursday – New Year’s Eve – from the Sanford Performing Arts Center. Rustic Overtones started becoming widely popular in the mid-1990s, and they’ve collaborated with a range of artists from David Bowie to Ray Lamontagne. The show is part of the arts center’s Free for All series, started during the pandemic. Even though the 75-minute show is free, there will be a donation link for people who want to support the arts center. A link to the livestreaming video of the show can be found on the Sanford Performing Arts website.

Maine comedian Bob Marley’s prerecorded special, “Crona Watch 2020,” will air online New Year’s Eve. Photo by Cooper Marley

LAUGH IT OFF

Maine comedian Bob Marley has kept us all up to date on the pandemic – his view of it anyway – with his “Crona Watch” videos on Facebook. On New Year ‘s Eve, he’ll stream a prerecorded special called “Crona Watch 2020,” which was filmed before a live audience in September. People can rent the special on Marley’s website for $29.50 and begin watching it online at 8 p.m. New Year’s Eve. People will get an access code that allows them to watch the special up to 72 hours after that. For more information and to rent the special, go to the Bob Marley Comedy website.

TIP TOP

It’s a good New Year’s Eve for early birds, since the state’s 9 p.m. business curfew has been extended through Jan. 3. So no bar or restaurant will be open at the stroke of midnight. But you can get a New Year’s Eve kind of view by having a drink or a bite at the Top of the East, on the 15th floor of the Westin Portland Harborview hotel. Besides a commanding view of Portland, the Top of the East has Celebration Boxes for people to buy and take home. Some boxes are $60 and include an array of sophisticated appetizers and party favors, and for $30 more they can include a bottle of the house bubbly. People were asked to order the boxes in advance, but Top of the East’s website says staff is planning to have a “small number” of Celebration Boxes available for purchase on New Year’s Eve. For more information, go to the Top of the East website.

The Top of the East in Portland will be open until 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve. Photos courtesy of Top of the East

SOMETHING TRIVIAL

It’s been one of those years where we all need silly distractions, little ways to feel good about ourselves and forget the bigger issues. It’s been a good year to get into trivia. No matter what you know, you probably know some useless fact nobody else does. So why not kick back on your couch and play trivia with other Mainers during an online New Year’s Eve trivia party organized by the Patten Free Library in Bath. You can join as a team or an individual. The trivia starts at 7 p.m. and lasts about an hour, usually with 40-50 questions over 5 rounds. Topics include music, literature, pop culture, local and state history and more. Some clues are visual, some are musical. To find out more, go to the Patten Free Library website and to register to play, send an email Roberta Jordan at [email protected]

South Portland Public Library will host a Noon Year party for kids on Zoom. Photo courtesy of South Portland Public Library

FOR THE KIDS

Not all virtual events are for grownups. The South Portland Public Library will host its annual Noon Year Party on Zoom at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Families can get on Zoom together to say hello, make wishes and celebrate the hope of a new year. There will be a read-aloud, crafts to do, and a countdown to noon, which is the kid equivalent of midnight. Registration is required. For more information and to register, go to the South Portland Public Library website.

IT’S MIDNIGHT SOMEWHERE

The folks at Dock Fore in Portland aren’t letting the 9 p.m. curfew dampen New Year’s Eve. Starting at 3 p.m., the Old Port pub and restaurant will be ringing in the New Year every hour, and celebrating a place where midnight comes earlier than it does here. The schedule of places to be celebrated includes India, Dubai, Moscow, Paris, Dublin and Greenland. There will be a full food menu all day, plus Champagne specials. For more information, go to the Dock Fore Facebook page.

The annual Wild Blueberry Ball Drop in Kennebunk will take place virtually on New Year’s Eve. Photo courtesy of New Year’s Eve Kennebunk

DROP ‘TIL YOU DROP

New Year’s Eve Kennebunk, NYE KBK for short, won’t be holding a big crowd event as usual. But it will hold its version of a Times Square ball drop, virtually, for all of Maine to see on New Year’s Eve. The Wild Blueberry Ball Drop will be streamed via video at 9 p.m. and again at midnight on the NYE KBK Facebook event page. The ball will be lowered from the bell tower at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church. In between ball drops, the virtual event will include historic facts about previous New Year’s Eves and video well-wishes from community members. To learn more about the event and find the link to the video, see the NYE KBK Facebook event page.

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