A sign shows an announcement about New Year Gorham events. Robert Lowell / American Journal

The New Year’s Eve show will go on this year in Gorham, but with a virtual format.

Disappointed New Year Gorham organizers decided just days before the annual celebration to cancel in-person attendance at the musical performances and other entertainment scheduled for the night of Friday, Dec. 31.

The exception will be the fireworks display, which will go off at 9 p.m. in person as scheduled at Gorham High School, 41 Morrill Ave.

“Sadly, New Year Gorham will not be a live event,” said Town Councilor Virginia Wilder Cross, an event committee member. “This was a tough decision, but the news of COVID cases continuing to be on the rise made us step back and consider the risks involved.”

The decision was made to avoid the event from becoming a potential super-spreader of COVID-19.

New Year Gorham activities that are affected include interactive wildlife and science shows, dance studio workshops, face painting, and an evening of performances by musical groups, a magician and a storyteller.

The stage show at the high school will be livestreamed and can be viewed from 5-8:30 p.m. on local access cable TV Channel 3 or seen at newyear21-22.gorhamschools.org.

The lineup of performers includes Don Roy Trio, Franco-American fiddling, with guests The Arnotts; Jonas Rimkunas, Broadway musical hits, accompanied by Josie DiPhilippo; Gorham High School Chamber Singers; Gorham High School Jazz Band; Antonio Rocha, storyteller; and Matt Roberts, illusion and comedy.

An annual treat for children, Wildlife Encounters will host a Zoom session at 4 p.m. This hour-long interactive program can be accessed via Zoom ID #603-923-1168. “Sign in there and the Wildlife Encounters folks will welcome you,” a message posted on the town’s website said.

Both Mad Science and the Dance Studio of Maine workshops were scheduled at the Recreation Department in the municipal center but won’t be part of New Year Gorham this year.

“The young families’ performances would be the most risky, as many of the younger children have not yet had a second shot, let alone the first one,” Wilder Cross said.

Even before the decision to go virtual, the high school robotics group withdrew its offer to host the New Year Gorham Café at the high school during the stage show.

“They were having trouble getting enough people together to prepare and serve food as well as volunteers to continually clean tables between groups,” said Wilder Cross, who founded New Year Gorham.

Also prior to the decision to go virtual, the New Year Gorham Committee weighed going in person with proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Sales of wrist bands for $5 as entry to the shows were halted Dec. 24. Wilder Cross said Gorham Recreation Department will issue refunds for those who want them.

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