The beach ball dropped in West Market Square Sunday night, marking the start of a new year, while temperatures continued their own nosedive. According to the National Weather Service in Caribou, it was 5 degrees below zero as 2017 ended and 2018 began. With the windchill, it felt more like 22 degrees below zero.
At 11 p.m., the square was all but deserted as revelers stayed indoors. But the promise of midnight spectacle brought them trickling out of bars and restaurants just before the end of the year. When the lighted ball was tossed from the roof at Paddy Murphy’s, the square was packed. The crowd hooted with approval and couples kissed. One man removed his shirt, flashed a peace sign and hollered.
After tradition was satisfied, the crowd melted away into the night, singing and shouting, “Happy New Year.”