City rings in 2014 with annual New Year's By the Bay celebration

By Ben Holbrook | Jan 07, 2014
Courtesy of: Mary Mortier The 17th annual New Year's By the Bay Celebration concludes with the lighting of a bonfire on the waterfront at midnight.

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.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Harold Richardson | Jan 09, 2014 08:39

I will send a donation because I feel guilty about not going and buying our buttons now.  We had gone for at least ten years straight and a few years the weather was even worse than this year.  Maybe two weeks or so before New Years I downloaded the schedule and planned my night to go see each of our favorite three groups-Katahdin Boys-Blue Hills Brass and the Gawler family only to find out a few days later that it was last years schedule.  Others told me they did the same thing.  I would have dragged my sorry butt out if I could have seen even one of those groups.  I know you can't have the same line-up every year but I was disappointed at the very end and didn't go because of that-and the crappy weather.  Still-I should have been more loyal to the cause so I hope others will join me in helping out and send some money so you can do it again.    Harold Richardson 

Posted by: BELFAST CITY HALL | Jan 08, 2014 16:54

Thank you for asking! New Year's By The Bay is a local non profit volunteer organization with 501(c) (3) IRS tax status, so donations are tax deductible. The organization has no administrative costs. All funds are used for performers, activities & production costs. Checks can be made out to: NYBB & mailed to PO Box 313, Belfast, ME 04915. In order to move forward with next year's event, the 18th. year, we will need to raise $3,000 for the start up costs, prior to next year's admittance button sales. FMI:

Posted by: Lynda DeWitt | Jan 08, 2014 15:15

Where should people send donations to next year's event? Thanks.

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Ben Holbrook
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Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.

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