Eastport resumes tradition of New Year’s Eve Sardine and Maple Leaf Drop

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 6:16 PM EST
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EASTPORT, Maine (WABI) - Can’t make it to the Big Apple for the famous New Year’s Eve Ball Drop?

Folks in Eastport are resuming a favorite tradition that recalls the town’s history.

When the clock strikes midnight on the New Year - an 8-foot, 20-pound sardine sculpture will fall from the sky in front of the Tides Institute and Museum of Art.

One hour before that - a 4-foot maple leaf will descend on downtown to reflect the time change as the New Year hits Atlantic Canada first.

The event began in 2005, but was virtual-only last year.

Organizers expect the return to in-person crowds to bring the holiday spirit.

”Before this started there really wasn’t anything happening on New Year’s, so this was a way to create a celebration, really where there hadn’t been something organized,” said Director of Exhibitions and Education at Tides Institute Kristin McKinlay. “It’s really attracted folks to town. We’ve had people come from as far as Florida, Georgia, Ohio and people throughout Atlantic Canada.”

McKinlay tells us that it’s considered good luck to kiss the giant sardine.

Due to COVID precautions, those in attendance will instead be able to place custom stickers on the fish.

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