The power came back on around 2:50 p.m. on New Year’s Eve in Belfast, and black ice coated the roads starting around 11:30 p.m.

In between was Belfast’s 15th annual New Year’s by the Bay celebration, logging some of the best attendance figures in years, and according to event organizer Mary Mortier, benefiting from “the best weather we’ve ever had. Ever. Ever.”

As of Jan. 2, Mortier was still sifting through receipts and surveys from the event, but said that more than 1,800 admission buttons had been sold (which was all of them). By the night of the event — a 12-hour program including dozens of musical acts and entertainers at venues around the city — organizers had run out of the buttons and had resorted to stamping hands.

The Hips packed the First Church Hall with a multigenerational crowd in what Mortier said was the best-attended show by teens and young adults.

The Gawler Family and Katahdin Valley Boys drew the largest crowds overall to their respective shows at the First Church Sanctuary and the First Baptist Church.

Mortier gave high praise to Hawk Henries, who has performed at 13 of the last 15 New Year’s by the Bay celebrations, and said she personally enjoyed newcomers to the festival Catch-a-Vibe.

Attendants also welcomed back the horse and carriage rides by Clayton Larrabee of Knox, with some revelers taking multiple trips, according to Mortier, who also noted a good response for the return of Evergreen, a band that last performed at NYBB in 2003. Mortier said she heard there was a large, all-ages turnout for a magic show by Conjuring Carroll at the Colonial Theatre, though she didn’t attend herself.

Based on surveys filled out by attendants, Mortier said she will likely recruit a contradance caller for next year’s event, noting that an organized dancing component would have gone well with an act like the Belfast Bay Fiddlers, who played at the First Church Hall.

A blackout across much of Waldo County on the morning of Dec. 31 threatened to shut down or at least dramatically change New Year’s by the Bay. At the event’s headquarters in Parent Gallery, Mortier said volunteers lit oil lamps and continued to sell buttons before power was restored.

Adding to the suspense, the event was to scheduled start several hours earlier than in past years in order to include more children’s programming and some free activities. A bounce house didn’t make it up as planned; but otherwise, Mortier said, the power came on just in time for the beginning of most events.

At the end of the evening, drummers led an ad hoc throng of percussionists and revelers down Main Street to the public landing, where 2011 ticked away on a large digital clock. The New Year kicked off with a bonfire on the beach.

Area roads had become slick with ice, but only in the late evening, and while several people took spills on the way down Main Street, and the bonfire itself toppled over in full blaze, narrowly missing the crowd, New Year’s by the Bay and its attendants appeared to slip into 2012 unscathed.

In another annual tradition, dozens of brave souls turned out in swimming suits on New Year’s Day for an early morning dip in the chilly waters of Belfast Harbor.