Lauren Cooper had the New Year written all over her face. The number 20 adorned the right cheek of the 8-year-old Corinth girl, while the numerals zero and nine were painted on her left.
She and her family spent Wednesday afternoon at the Bangor Mall and the Maine Discovery Museum taking in free activities.
The museum and nine other locations in downtown Bangor offered activities for all ages at the Downtown Countdown. Events began at 4 p.m. at the museum in the former Freese’s Department Store and ended around the stroke of midnight when a giant beach ball adorned with lights was to be tossed off a building at the corner of Main and Broad streets.
“This is just fun for the kids, and they get to be part of New Year’s Eve activities,” Lauren’s mother, Andrea Cooper, 38, of Corinth, said as her daughter reached for another sticker to place on the noisemaker she had made out of a paper towel tube filled with popcorn and dried beans at the Discovery Museum.
The Cooper family planned to spend the evening at home watching movies before ringing in the New Year together.
Lauren Cooper did set a goal for herself in 2009.
“To be a better soccer player,” she said.
While she was focused on the future, partygoers at the Bangor Public Library encountered a blast from the past. Librarians and frequent patrons donned costumes from the 1960s while young visitors made paper flowers and peace symbols out of blank CDs.
Siblings Abraham, 14, Lydia-Rose, 11, and Abraham Ross, 14, all of Holden, tie-dyed shirts, painted their blue jeans and donned colored “John Lennon” glasses. Lydia-Rose and Abraham Ross took turns playing holiday tunes and jazz numbers on the piano in the Children’s Room.
“It’s fun to do the costumes,” the 11-year-old said. “It gives us another chance to dress up besides Halloween. I even tie-dyed my socks.”
Lydia-Rose Ross, who will be 12 on Friday, said that her family will celebrate her birthday and the New Year today with a family party. She also made an important New Year’s resolution.
“I’m going to start going by Rose,” the girl formerly known as Lydia-Rose revealed as she went back to playing the piano.
They wouldn’t be staying up late, their mother, Jennifer Ross, 43, of Holden, said, because they were to be at an early morning Mass today.
A short walk down Harlow Street at City Hall, a father and son duo on the guitar and fiddle had a small crowd tapping their feet in time to bluegrass and Celtic tunes. It was the second year Max Silverstein, 11, and his father, Jeffrey Silverstein, 48, both of Bangor had played for the Downtown Countdown.
“I like playing for people,” Max Silverstein, a sixth-grader who attends the James F. Doughty Middle School, said during a short break. “There’s a little more pressure here because, well, there’s TV.”
The fiddler was referring to the unobtrusive television cameras that capture the City Council and its various committees at work. The performances in City Hall were recorded for broadcast on the local-access cable channel.
Max Silverstein had a list of New Year’s resolutions, all related to music.
“I want to get much better at playing, make another CD and practice a lot,” he said.
His father, an attorney with an office in downtown Bangor, had just one resolution on his list.
“I want to play with Max as much as he’ll allow,” the elder Silverstein said.
Putting those goals into action, the duo picked up their instruments and played a traditional tune that literally sent revelers reeling off into the night.