New Year’s Eve: Celebrate the sardine

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nye_eastport_sardine_2008At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve in The Big Apple, they drop a glittery ball on Times Square. Big Whoppie (and I’m not talking pie).

Way, way down east in Eastport, Maine, they drop both a sardine and a maple leaf from the from the roof of the Tides Institute and Museum of Art building on Bank Square.

Let me clarify: In deference to any Canadians in the crowd or those who might be watching from Deer Island or Campobello Island, across Passamaquoddy Bay, the maple leaf will drop at midnight Atlantic time (11 p.m.). The sardine, will drop at midnight Eastern time.

“We have an 8-foot scale model of the Atlantic Herring that will be lowered from the third story window,” says Hugh French, Tides Institute director. The sardine, technically known as the Atlantic Herring, is the symbol of Eastport, the easternmost city in the country.

This year’s Sardine and Maple Leaf, both hand crafted by sculptor Dave Schaefer, of East Machias, will be decked out in coppery digs to celebrate the ongoing restoration of the Tides Institute’s new cooper roof.

Celebrate the occasion at one of Eastport’s local watering holes: the Wa-Co Diner (pron. Wacko), Happy Crab, Pickled Herring, or Rose Garden.

It’ll be a ball; you can bank on it, and that’s no fish story.