New Year's by the Bay unbeaten by frigid first night

By Ethan Andrews | Jan 02, 2018
Photo by: Ethan Andrews Magician and juggler Bob Lloyd fashions a balloon crown for a young volunteer during a performance at the Crosby Center in Belfast Dec. 31. The former high school was added to the list of venues for the city's 2017-18 New Year's by the Bay celebration after reopening last year.

Belfast — Despite subzero temperatures, hundreds of first-night revelers turned out for the 21st annual New Year's by the Bay celebration.

The event featured more than two dozen acts performing at eight venues in downtown Belfast.

Longtime event organizer and City Councilor Mary Mortier said attendance was down somewhat from past years. But having planned for the worst, she was pleasantly surprised.

"It went very well considering the weather conditions," she said. "We have hardy Mainers in the area."

The annual event included several new venues this year. The Unitarian Universalist Church sanctuary, out of commission in 2016 during a major interior reconstruction, returned in style this year with the newly restored upper-floor sanctuary with its high tin ceilings and great acoustics that several musicians made a point to mention to Mortier.

The auditorium of former Crosby High School, which reopened this year under new ownership, was also back in the mix for the first time since 2005. An 8 p.m. show by the Leaky Boot Jug Band had the 400-seat room filled to capacity, Mortier said.

"That had always been a regular venue," Mortier said. "We are so thankful for (building owner) Kiril Lozanov and (Producing Artistic Director of the Crosby Center) Larraine Brown for letting us return to that theater."

At press time, Jan. 2, Mortier was still waiting on returns and attendance figures, but she was confident that the event had been a relative success.

"I know that I have enough to pay the performers and the expenses of production," she said. "What's in question is whether I'll have a start-up fund for next year."

Magician and juggler Bob Lloyd flips hats on stage at the Crosby Center in Belfast Dec. 31 while a young audience member follows along in the aisle. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Gypsy jazz ensemble Mes Amis performs in the recently restored Unitarian Universalist Church sanctuary Dec. 31 during Belfast's 2017-18 New Year's by the Bay Celebration. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
A crowd fills the newly restored Unitarian Universalist Church sanctuary in Belfast for a performance by gypsy jazz ensemble Mes Amis Dec. 31. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
An antennae'd New Year's Eve reveler appears in silhouette with The Right Track dance band at Belfast Boathouse Dec. 31. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Revelers get loose at the Belfast Boathouse on New Year's Eve with The Right Track, a Midcoast soul, funk and rhythm and blues band. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Midcoast dance band The Right Track gets the room going at the Belfast Boathouse Dec. 31 during the 21st New Year's by the Bay celebration. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
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