The 14th annual New Year’s By The Bay will turn New Year’s Eve into a multi-venue all-ages celebration beginning 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31 and concluding at midnight with a big bonfire on the waterfront.

All New Year’s By The Bay venues are chem-free and most are located within walking distance of each other. Those who can’t make it out for the night can take in some of the proceedings on BCTV-2, as Belfast Community Television will be broadcasting live from the celebration. Those who can shake a leg will have even more opportunity to do so as this year’s schedule boasts four different evening dances with live bands.

NYBB admission buttons admit wearers to all events. They cost $15, $5 for students K-12, and are free for those younger than 5. Advance buttons are available through Thursday, Dec. 30, at the Parent Gallery, the Belfast Co-op, Mr. Paperback, Belfast’s Hannaford, the Belfast Harbor Inn and the Comfort Inn Ocean’s Edge. Beginning Friday afternoon, buttons also may be purchased at most of the performance venues.

All seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are subject to occupancy rules; some sites have limited occupancy. Unless otherwise noted, performances last 45 minutes. The New Year’s By The Bay program is available in printable brochure format at; events are subject to change.

The event’s headquarters will open at noon in the Parent Gallery, located by the traffic light on the corner of Main and High streets. It will remain open until 9 p.m., selling admission buttons and providing information and printed programs. Also beginning early, at 2 p.m., will be an Ocean Adventure Jump House for children younger than 11 (to 5 p.m.) and creative balloon twisting by Kyle (to 4:30 p.m.), both at The Boathouse, at the foot of Commercial Street; and the annual open house at the Belfast Curling Club on Route 3, which will offer demos from 3 to 5 p.m.

The kids are alright

While children can enjoy all parts of New Year’s By The Bay, thanks to the chem-free nature of the event, some of the entertainment options are specifically geared to the younger set. In addition to the early Boathouse activities, there will be:

• Interactive magic and illusions performed by Conjuring Carroll (Chapman) in a family oriented show that includes visual effects, live animals and comedy, 3 and 4 p.m. at The Boathouse.

• More balloon animals with Kyle from 5 to 6:15 p.m. at Belfast Free Library, 106 High St.

• Interactive songs, stories and music by Jennifer Armstrong at 5 p.m. at the library’s Abbott Room.

• Attendees of every age will enjoy watching, and being the subject of, caricature artist P.J. Carter. She will be in her customary spot in the vestry of First Baptist Church, 95 High St. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Get a move on

This edition of New Year’s By The Bay offers several options at the Tarratine Tribe #13 Hall, 153 Main St., that should engage young and old alike in fun physical activity.

• Hula hooping is back and how, and Judith Pinsly will have hoops on hand to help people acquire a hoop groove at 5 and 9 p.m.

• Jump rope demos will be presented by the Game Loft at 7 p.m.

• Live action combat demos, also presented by the Game Loft, will liven things up at 8 p.m.

Dancing is one of the most fun forms of exercise and New Year’s By The Bay is hosting four bands at two venues, providing boogie possibilities all night long.

• The Travis Lloyd Band features singer/songwriter and guitarist Travis Lloyd; his father Russ Lloyd on bass and vocals; drummer Cody Tibbetts; and Emily Newell on keyboards and vocals. The will play their distinctive blend of rock, folk and trash pop from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at The Boathouse.

• XCITY, a young band that promises electronic nu-soul dance music, will play two sets, at 6 and 7 p.m. at the second floor of the First Church parish hall on Spring Street between Church and Court streets.

• OdLaW will play three consecutive sets, beginning 9 p.m. and running to just before midnight, at the parish hall. OdLaW (that’s Waldo backwards) features Gary Grant, Sam Ladd and Jerry Weaver and has just released its debut full-length CD.

• Back at The Boathouse, local favorites the Willy Kelly Band will offer blues, R&B and vintage rock from 9:15 to 11:30 p.m. this band is a sure bet, thanks to perennial musical colleagues Willy Kelly, Ando Anderson, Jeff Densmore and Joe Allard.

Let there be music

New Year’s By the Bay is known for its fine range of musical acts and this year’s lineup is no exception. Performances tend towards the folk and traditional, but there are other genres as well, all contributing to some hard-to-make choices throughout the evening.

• Local jazzman Lincoln Blake is first out of the starting gates with a solo sax set 4 p.m. in the café of the Belfast Co-op, 123 High St.

• Shana Hanson will follow, with 5 and 6 p.m. sets of international folk tunes at the Co-op.

• Belfast Bay Fiddlers, familiar from the city’s many summer events and Maine Celtic Celebration, will perform contra-tradition music at 5 and 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 95 High St.

• Spirited Folk will offer interactive and upbeat American folk songs in the Pete Seeger tradition, including inspiring originals, lively instrumentals and impromptu humor, at 5 and 6 p.m. in the sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church, 37 Miller St.

• Castlebay, Maine’s treasured Celtic music and history duo, will perform at 6 and 8 p.m. in the sanctuary of First Church UCC, 8 Court St. Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee have created a body of work that celebrates Maine’s maritime heritage and environment. They perform both traditional and original music.

• Local eclectic ensemble Abba Rabbi Shabba will kick things off at the Colonial Theatre, 163 High St., with sets at 6 and 7 p.m. The collaboration of three local music legends features Ando Anderson on guitar, Alan Crichton on saxophone and Jeff Densmore on drums.

• On the other end of the age spectrum, young fiddler Hila Shooter will improv with Clayton Clemetson on electric piano at 6  and 8 p.m. in the library’s Abbott Room.

• It’s not New Year’s By The Bay without Native American flutist and storyteller Hawk Henries, who will provide his perennial oasis of calm via sets at 7 and 9 p.m. in the sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

• Fast becoming perennial performers are power trio Ameranouche, a well-respected Gypsy jazz combo that serves up hot acoustic tunes inspired by the great Django Rheinhardt, as well as bebop and Latin music traditions. Ameranouche will play sets at 7, 9 and 11 p.m. at First Baptist Church.

• Jennifer Armstrong, who performed last year at the National Storytelling Festival, will return to the Abbott Room for a set of songs and stories at 7 p.m. Armstrong plays bagpipes and accompanies her songs on fiddle and banjo.

• The Gawler Family, another of Maine’s traditional music treasures, will perform lively folk music at 7 and 9 p.m. in the First Church sanctuary. John and Ellen Gawler have raised a brood of talented musicians who weave together a musical quilt of multiple instrumental and vocal threads. Best known for an extensive collection of dance tunes in the Scots-Irish and French Canadian traditions, the family’s repertoire also includes Appalachian work songs, a cappella number and amusing odes to everyday life.

• Poetry is music to the ears of many in Belfast and has an important role in New Year’s By The Bay as the city’s Poet Laureate, Linda Buckmaster, concludes her two-year term and hands the ceremonial cloak over to her successor Barbara Maria. The “coronation” and readings by a Pod of Poets will take place 8 to 8:45 p.m. at the Colonial. In addition to Maria and Buckmaster, readers will be Kathryn Robyn, Elizabeth Garber, Karin Spitfire, Nancy Carey, Jacob Fricke, Ellen Sanders and Lauren Murray.

• Camden singer/songwriter and guitarist David Dodson will team up with Belfast’s Mike Nickerson, CPA by day and stand-up bass player at night, and other assorted musical cronies including Russ Lloyd and Neal Parent for what is sure to be humor- and hook-laden sets of funny and profound original songs at 8 and 10 p.m. in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church.

• The once-Belfast-based Me & Martha is back for New Year’s By The Bay, performing acoustic Appalachian roots music at 9 and 10 p.m. in the library’s Abbott Room. The duo — city native Martha Hills and her husband Don DePoy — will be back at the library for a concert Wednesday, Jan. 5.

• Rhythms of Chance, a combo promising to give a street beat to jazz and blues, will close out the Colonial’s night from 9:15 to 10:45 p.m.

• Shades of Blue, another ensemble new to New Year’s By The Bay, will offer sets of jazz, blues and originals, vocal and instrumental, at 8, 10 and 11 p.m. in the sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

• The Free Seedlings, a Waldo County trio featuring Bennett Konesni on guitar, fiddle and banjo; David Lewis on guitar and bass; and Jeff Lewis on mandolin, will keep things lively with an acoustic mix of bluegrass, old-time and original songs. Their sets are at 10 and 11 p.m. in the First Church sanctuary.

Fueling the fun

The music schedule mentions church sanctuaries because at many of the performance venues there is a whole other scene going down on the first floor and/or parish hall — a scene devoted to good eats. There also are food-only locations; note that food is not included with the admission button, although there a couple of complementary options. New Year’s By The Bay food vendors may be identified by yellow and purple vendor flags.

• The Unitarian Universalist Church will serve up a variety of homemade soups, breads and desserts plus hot and cold drinks from 5 to 8 p.m.

• First Baptist Church will offer homemade beef stew, chili, barbecue beans and turkey soup plus hot drinks, doughnuts, cookies, fried dough and funnel cake from 5 to 11 p.m.

• The annual New Year’s Eve Breakfast will take place at the First Church parish hall on Spring Street, serving eggs, bacon, sausage, homefries and more from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Earlier in the evening, First Church will offer snacks and drinks.

• The Tarratine Tribe is offering complimentary cold cut sandwiches, homemade desserts and hot cold drinks beginning 5 p.m. until they run out.

• Hot drinks, bottled water and snacks will be available at The Boathouse at Steamboat Landing from 6 to 11 p.m.

• Commercial eateries signed up to be chem-free New Year’s By The Bay food venues include Bay Wrap, 4 to 10 p.m.; Belfast Co-op Café, open to 9 p.m. and offering complimentary hot spiced cider; and Alexia’s Pizza, noon to 9 p.m.

In with a Rabble and a roar

Ten minutes before midnight, everyone (even those without buttons) is invited to gather at the downtown traffic light to become part of the sixth annual Drum & Rabble Corp. procession. Participants are invited to bring noise-making things like drums, pots and pans, tin cans and noisemakers for the parade down to the waterfront. There, the eighth annual Bonfire By The Bay will be lit on the waterfront pier off lower Main Street to welcome in 2011 with a roaring blaze.


It takes a year of planning and more than 100 volunteers, teens to senior citizens, for two to five hour shifts at the event venues to make New Year’s By The Bay a reality. Volunteering is fun and indoors, and each volunteer receives a free NYBB admission button. Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to contact Mary Mortier at 323-1748 or marym@midcoastcom.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to