PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Although it began just two years ago, the Star City First Night has quickly become a popular New Year’s Eve celebration in Presque Isle.
Organizers again are planning for big crowds as they put the finishing touches on plans for the third annual event.
The downtown will come alive Dec. 31 with a full evening of family-friendly celebration that will culminate in the raising of an illuminated 6-foot-tall metal star leading up to midnight.
The fete is hosted by the Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee and supported by more than two dozen businesses and organizations, including lead sponsors MMG Insurance, KeyBank and Northern Maine Community College.
The activities and entertainment will begin at 8 p.m. and run through the star raising at venues in the downtown corridor that includes the area encompassing State and Main streets. Festivities will be held on the State Street side of the KeyBank building with entertainment continuing into the first hour of the new year.
James Fracomano is the city planner and a member of the promotions committee of the PIDRC, which is coordinating the First Night event. He said the evening is a great opportunity for residents and holiday visitors to ring in the new year together.
An evening-long celebration for children will be hosted by the Wintergreen Arts Center at its 149 State St. studio beginning at 8 p.m. The festivities include New Year’s hat decorating, confetti balloon making and popping, face painting, a pinata pull, and early New Year’s countdown complete with a sparkling cider toast and confetti cake all before 9 p.m. Those activities will conclude with a dance party featuring a bubble wrap stomp and flashlight limbo at the arts center between 9 and 10 p.m. All Wintergreen First Night events are free of charge to participants. No reservations are required.
Music will be featured at the Northeastland Hotel. Among those scheduled to appear are Common Crossing, Sheldon Wright, Jan and Evelyn Kok, Johnny Mack, Travis Cyr, The Nothies and the Windy Grass Singers. Music begins at 8 p.m.
Musical entertainment for the entire family also will be featured at the Wintergreen Arts Center after the children’s activities. Performances by Jan and Evelyn Kok and The Nothies will begin at Wintergreen at approximately 10:45 p.m.
Patrick Patterson, First Night entertainment coordinator, will be the “voice” of the official new year countdown and star raising. This year, he will be joined on the platform by the Windy Grass Singers of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, who will perform the “Micmac Honor Song,” beginning at approximately 11:40 p.m. through the midnight countdown.
Windy Grass also will play the first song to usher in the new year. In place of the traditional “Auld Lang Syne,” the group will welcome 2011 with the “Micmac Welcome Song.”
Traffic on State Street in Presque Isle between the intersections with Second Street and Main Street will be restricted by the Presque Isle Police Department and the city’s Fire Department at approximately 11:30 p.m. as spectators gather to watch the star make its rise behind the KeyBank building (east side facing the Maine Public Service building). Volunteers with the Presque Isle Fire Department will use the city’s ladder truck to raise the star.
The Star City New Year star was constructed in December 2008 by a dozen welding and metal fabrication students and instructor Dennis Albert at Northern Maine Community College. The finished product, which was fabricated using 26-gauge galvanized steel and held together with steel rivets, has the appearance of two very large barn stars joined back-to-back. At its center, the star measures 1½ feet wide.