Sunday, December 16, 2012

Last Night! New Year's Eve in Blue Hill, Maine

Photo by Tom Leigh Courtesy of the Last Night Committee

Toss out the old year! Ring in the New Year in Blue Hill! 

It's both admission free and chem-free. That's right; free entertainment, food, and fun for the entire family.

Maine is renowned for its unique line-up of homegrown events that bring communities together to foster traditions that are often lost in the glitter of blinding bright lights in our fast-paced, modern culture. A prime example is an event that started in 2003 with a steel band performance by Flash! In the Pan on New Year’s Eve at the Blue Hill Town Hall. Their performance that particular “last night” sparked inspiration that’s since evolved into an annual fun-for-the-entire-family event that attracts visitors from miles around. One has to personally experience a New Year’s Eve in Blue Hill to honestly feel its significance. Having done so, myself, I can attest that the entertainers, businesses, and volunteers turn the entire town, from end to end, into an unforgettable celebration. Plus, everything offered at the festivities is donated, from its food and drink at the firehouse right down to its performances by musical entertainers, poets, storytellers, actors, puppeteers, etc. hosted around town.

As Nigel Chase expresses, “It is such an amazing sight to see so many people walking the streets in the bitter cold…” as they migrate from venue to venue throughout the night. Nigel is a member of the Last Night Committee, which is a subcommittee of Peninsula Pan, Inc, the official organizer for the event and a non-profit organization supporting steel drum music and education in Down East Maine. He’s pleased with how Last Night! has evolved and very proud of the many personalities and performers who step up and share their talent for free—on an evening which they would be paid for elsewhere. Over the years, even Noel Paul Stookey, the Blue Hill resident, so well known as the singer and songwriter who’s the “Paul” in the legendary folk trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, has stepped up to volunteer his time and talent.

Its venue may change from year to year but Last Night! Is becoming a solid New Year’s Eve tradition in the Blue Hill community. This year’s Last Night! program is set to begin at 5:45pm on December 31 at the Congregational Church of Blue Hill with a performance by Wade Dow and his band, a local favorite for country music. From 7-10 pm multiple venues will host music, dance, poetry, fortune tellers and more.  Then from 10pm-midnight the Blue Hill Town Hall will be open for late night revelries with live music and dancing.

Here are some of the many acts lined up for 2012's Last Night! celebration:

· Planet Pan, Steel Drum Music

· Wade Dow, Country Music

· Clarion Steel, Steel Drum Music

· Quit Bixby, Tarot Card Reader

· Brooklin Band, Traditional Town Band playing holiday music and marches

· New Trad Trio, Jazz

· Leslie Good, Tarot Card Reader

· Barbara JOY Hare

· Arnold Greenberg, Poetry

· Timbered Lake, Folk

· OC and Sarah, Folk

· Rhythm Rockets, Steel Drum Music

· New Surry Theater, Radio Drama

· Archipelago, Folk

· Isle of Jazz

· VITA, Singer Songwriter

· X-Presso Jazz

· Greek Dancing with Eleni Koenka

· Salsa Dancing with David Koenka

· Joel McGraw

· Jay and Bjorn Peterson, Western Swing

· Bluegene, Folk

· Loose Cannon Jug Band

· Four Cryin, Out Loud 

If you’re looking to ring in 2013 in a way that’s somewhat reminiscent of days gone by while, at the same time, filling your heart with hopes and dreams for a better future; plan to attend Last Night! on December 31, this year. You’ll find a warm glow of community spirit alive and well even on a cold winter’s night in the small coastal town of Blue Hill, Maine. For complete information and schedule, as the date draws closer, please visit

Photo by Tom Leigh Courtesy of the Last Night Committee
During the winter months and after the summer tourists have departed,
Blue Hill, Maine is a sleepy little coastal town. except on Last Night!
Each December 31st the town is wide awake with the sounds of a community
singing and dancing as they welcome in a brand new year.

Photos by Tom Leigh. Courtesy of the Last Night Committee.


© Copyright 2012 Gail J. VanWart  All Rights Reserved

Gail J. VanWart is a regular contributor to theSCENE:
a publication of Courier Publications LLC in Rockland, Maine with distribution in Waldo and Lincoln Counties


  1. Hi Gail,

    My name is Jocelyn and I am with Dwellable. I am looking for fun and authentic blogs about Blue Hill and yours happened to catch my eye. If you’re open to it, shoot me an e-mail at jocelyn(at)dwellable(dot)com.

    Hope to hear from you soon!
    - Jocelyn