Revelry returns to Downtown Bangor’s NYE

Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 3:42 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - After essentially taking the year off in 2020, New Year’s Eve festivities return to Downtown Bangor Friday night.

“It was just surreal that on New Year’s Eve, one of the biggest restaurant days of the year, I was down here last year,” recalled 11 Central owner Mike Towle. “By the time we get done here, and there were four people downtown at the stroke of midnight, and it was, I mean, you couldn’t script it. It was like Stephen Kingish.”

11 Central is one of many downtown eateries expecting big things Friday night.

“It’s gonna be packed,” said Towle. “You see it with the buzz that the town had the last two weeks getting ready for Christmas and the holidays. People are out, people are around. I think barring a Nor’easter, people are going to be down and out to celebrate midnight.”

“It definitely feels like it’s a different kind of New Year’s than last year was,” said Betsy Lundy, Executive Director of the Downtown Bangor Partnership. “I mean, people are still, you know, getting sick and COVID is still an issue, but I think we’ve actually reached a point where we’ve kind of learned how to live with the disease, and we’ve learned what we can do to mitigate things while still being a community coming out in public and enjoying ourselves.”

Like at the Penobscot Theatre.

“A totally improvised comedic evening called, Auld Lang Zing,” said Executive Director Jennifer Shepard.

They’ve got two shows - a kid friendly one at 5 and another for adults at 8.

“I think part of that is like being able to have a laugh in a room with other people,” she said. “It’s just been great to have other people in the room laughing. People seeing each other. Yes, much welcomed return.”

“I think downtown Bangor does an amazing job with New Year’s Eve,” said Lundy. “Part of it is just the tight concentration of businesses in downtown. It makes it really possible for a person or a group of people to come to this, you know, one square mile and find lots of great options of different things to do on New Year’s.”

That will include the return of the beach ball drop from the top of Paddy Murphy’s.

“It is something that people come from far and wide to experience, and, you know, people pour out of the bars, in the restaurants and in home parties and even, you know, if they’re just hanging out around the house, they’ll often just come down and see the ball drop, and it feels really big and symbolic for everybody,” said Lundy.

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