OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine — New Year’s revelers dragged their Christmas trees down slick sidewalks toward the beach as the sun set on 2013 for the last time. A trail of spills littering the bricks and telltale marks in the sand led to a pile of evergreens, all of whom had done their holiday duty and were ready to ascend into the deepening blue sky as crackling embers.
Tom Jones, a volunteer with community and business group OOB365, inserted a flaming log into the tangle of branches. Flames leaped toward the new stars and steaming cheers escaped the mouths of those assembled. The temperature was somewhere near single digits. It was the last night of December. But the beach party was on.
In addition to the bonfire, OOB365 arranged for Palace Playland, normally shuttered in the winter, to open its arcade and carousel. Kettle corn, cotton candy and hot chocolate were provided by the organization’s volunteers who try and promote Old Orchard Beach as a year-round destination. The evening was topped off with fireworks at 7:30 p.m.