City rings in 2014 with annual New Year's By the Bay celebration
Despite decreased attendance due to reports of inclement weather and subzero temperatures, the annual New Year's By the Bay event brought a fun, energetic atmosphere to the city, the event's organizer said.
Now in its 17th year, the annual celebration featured a variety of acts throughout the day on Tuesday, Dec. 31, and culminated with the Drum and Rabble Corps marching down Main Street to the waterfront where a bonfire was lit to ring in the new year.
Event organizer Mary Mortier said attendance at this year's event was down by about 30 percent, which she attributed to reports of bad weather, but said those who were in attendance "had a great time."
She noted this year's event featured more acts that had not been seen before at previous New Year's By the Bay celebrations. Typically, she said she tries to arrange for about 1/3 of the acts and performances to be new each year in order to keep the event fresh for attendees.
Some of the new acts that were a big hit with attendees were the New Relm Band, which bills itself as a "collision" of modern country and bluegrass music.
"They were very energetic and very talented musicians," Mortier said.
Other notable performances included the Chebeague Island Jazz Quintet. Mortier praised the talent of the musicians and said the group performed music that was composed by Bill Whetham who lived on Chebeague Island.
Another performance that drew in a lot of attendees was the CatchaVibe group, which played reggae, soul and funk music.
Mortier said a group of poets also performed at this year's New Year's By the Bay celebration and added a little twist to their act. Instead of simply reading or speaking their poetry, they incorporated music, movement and dance into the performance, Mortier said.
This year's celebration also featured an accapella group called 4 Cryin' Out Loud.
"They were excellent," Mortier said. "They've only been together for a couple of years."
While many of the new acts were a hit this year, Mortier also praised the "tried and true" groups such as The Leaky Jug band that are always crowd pleasers.
However, Mortier said because of the lower attendance this year, the event will just about break even in terms of costs, and that means she won't have any start-up funds available for next year.
As a result, she said some fundraising efforts will be launched to secure money for next year's event.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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