Toasting to a new year and better times ahead has never felt more meaningful than it has during the pandemic. Although the future remains uncertain, New Year’s is still a great opportunity to break from the stresses of our daily lives and mark the passing of time.

Should you want to close out 2021 or welcome in 2022 with something other than Netflix (no judgment if you don’t), we’ve gathered up several events to choose from that include mingling with a giant clam, running into the ocean, seeing live music and cheering at a hockey rink. No matter what you do to flip that calendar page to January, we hope you stay safe and have fun.

Fireworks at part of OOB365’s New Year’s Eve Beach Party. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Last Blast New Year’s Eve Beach Party
4:30-8 p.m. Friday. Downtown Old Orchard Beach. On Facebook.
Old Orchard Beach’s Last Blast party is back on this year and inviting you to bring your Christmas tree to feed to what will surely be an epic bonfire. Maine Kitchen Concessions will be on site, and there will also be marshmallow toasting pits, hot cocoa, kettle corn and cotton candy. All eyes will be on the sky when the fireworks show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Steamer the Yarmouth Clam Festival mascot. Joel Page/Staff Photographer

Clam Drop
6:30 p.m. Friday. First Universalist Church, 97 Main St., Yarmouth. On Facebook.
The Yarmouth Clam Festival’s mascot Steamer is coming out of his off-season slumber to help you welcome in the new year. At 7 p.m. (which is midnight Greenwich Mean Time), he’ll be busting out of the front doors of the First Universalist Church and fully expects lots of cheering and fanfare. Arrive at 6:30 p.m. with noisemakers and be ready to sing Auld Lang Syne and a few other holiday favorites while you sip cocoa and snack on cookies outside the church. As the clock strikes 7, the legendary clam will reveal himself along with his best buddy Little Neck for some proper reveling.

Support the Natural Resources Council of Maine by participating in a polar dip or 5K. Shutterstock

Polar Dip & Dash
Participate virtually through Jan. 2, $60 to register. nrcm.salsalabs.org/dipdash/index.html
The Natural Resources Council of Maine invites you to chill out big time to help support its work fighting climate change. The annual Polar Dip & Dash is again virtual this year, and you have through Jan. 2 to make the magic happen. For the 5K run, you can come up with your own route and the most creative one will win a prize. The NRCM website offers many suggestions for the dip including Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth, East End beach in Portland and Fortunes Rock Beach in Biddeford.

New Year Gorham
4  p.m. Friday. Virtual and outdoors at Gorham High School athletic field, 41 Morrill Ave. On Facebook.
The town of Gorham is gearing up for an afternoon and early evening of mostly virtual, family-friendly fun. At 4 p.m. on Zoom, kids can interact with animal friends from Wildlife Encounters. Streaming from the school’s performing arts center on local access Channel 3 starting at 5 p.m. will be Jonas & Josie belting out Broadway hits, the Don Roy Trio, Gorham High School chamber singers and jazz band, storyteller Antonio Rocha and a magic show from Matt Roberts. The fireworks will be at 9 p.m., so bundle up and head to the athletic field at Gorham High School for a good view.

New Year’s Planetarium
7 p.m. to midnight Friday. Southworth Planetarium, 70 Falmouth St., Portland, suggested donation of $7 to $10. usm.maine.edu/planet/new-years-planetarium-2021-0
Southworth Planetarium is pulling out all the stops for New Year’s Eve, and you can stop in for one show or hang out all night. Things kick off with Larry Cat in Space at 7 p.m., and other stars of the schedule include Hubble Vision 2, Destination Solar System and Aurora Storm. All told, there are seven stellar shows you can see that will all leave you starry-eyed and mystified. At 11:50 p.m., there will be a brief winter sky tour before the broadcasting of the Times Square ball drop in New York City.

Maine Mariners’ Mathew Santos, center, slams the puck through a crush of Worcester players to teammate Pascal Laberge during a game. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Maine Mariners
5 p.m. Friday. Cross Insurance Arena, 1 Civic Center Square, Portland, $18 and up. marinersofmaine.com
Connor Doherty, Conner Bleackley, Westin Michaud  Brendan Robbins, Cameron Askew and the rest of the Maine Mariners hockey team will be lacing up their skates to face off against Quebec’s Trois-Rivieres Lions. Because it’s New Year’s Eve, Cross Insurance Arena is offering countdown specials in the form of $4 champagne, $3 draft beers, $2 hot dogs and $1 popcorn. Cheer for the Mariners and, of course, the Zamboni driver!

Kidnight
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. Discovery Park at L.L. Bean, 95 Main St., Freeport. llbean.com/freeport
L.L. Bean invites the younger set and their families to spend a few hours on the final day of 2021 in Discovery Park. Kidnight features several activities and a whole bunch of entertainment that culminates with a spectacular dinnertime fireworks display. The L.L. Bean Northern Lights celebration has been happening all holiday season long with the twinkle twilight tunnel, whimsical windows, free ice skating, life-size snow globe and more.

Pianists Julia Chisholm and Bill Connors will be performing in Ogunquit. Photo courtesy of Dueling Pianos

Dueling Pianos NYE shows
7:30 & 10:30 p.m. Friday. Jonathan’s, 92 Bourne Lane, Ogunquit, $81. jonathansogunquit.com
Every show from Boston-based Dueling Pianos is different because audience members get to make requests. Even if you’re off key, you’re invited to sing along. Past performances have included Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and tunes from “Grease.” A pair of highly skilled and entirely enthusiastic pianists sit across from one another will do their almighty best to show you a good time as the minutes tick off toward the new year. Want to make it an even better night? If you’re going to one of the Dueling Pianos performances, you can make a dinner reservation in the restaurant downstairs.

Luna Rooftop Bar New Year’s Eve Celebration
10 p.m. to midnight Friday. Luna Rooftop Bar, 285 Commercial St., Portland, $100. eventbrite.com
Ring in the new year while you nosh on fancy appetizers and mingle beneath the stars on Portland’s Commercial Street. Luna Rooftop Bar will be serving up fancy apps including oysters on the half shell, poached shrimp, tuna poke, scallop ceviche, a charcuterie spread of local cheeses, cured meats and raw and pickled vegetables. Your taste buds will also be treated to house-fried potato chips, lollipop lamb chops and goat cheese fritters. Wash it all down with a sparkling wine toast, all included with your ticket. Specialty cocktails will be available for purchase, and the soiree also features a live DJ and photo booth.


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