Here’s why we celebrate the arrival of each New Year twice

Every New Year’s Eve where I now live, folks gather in front of the Tides Institute – also known for the occasion as Tides Square – for the drop of a festive maple leaf emblem at 11 pm and then convene again for a giant sardine sculpture at midnight.

First, the maple leaf.

Forget crowded Manhattan. This is the kind of homegrown affair where you can actually run into people you know, as well as others you’ll be hoping to see more of.

With New Brunswick just a mile or two across the channel and very much a part of our community, Eastport can’t help but mark the one-hour time difference between the two shores. Your cell phone certainly reminds you, shifting from one to the other. And so, at midnight Atlantic Time, we drop the lighted red maple leaf while a small brass band plays “Oh, Canada,” with many of the observers singing along. And then there’s the first burst of pyrotechnics overhead. Yay! Wow! Grins!

Up close, at ground level.

Time for a break, perhaps for hot chocolate down the street or a stop at several diners open uncommonly late, or even a dash home.

An hour later, reflecting the fact that Eastport was once the sardine capital of the world, everyone’s back, awaiting a giant sardine sculpture to descend at midnight Eastern Time from the former bank building that now houses a museum. This round, we all cheer to “Old Lang Syne” and then a festive outburst of fireworks.

Star of the show.

Here’s what we’re looking forward tonight!

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