Jodee Thurlow and Jeff Brannen of Lewiston enjoy the music of Farmhouse Project at the second annual New Year’s Auburn on Tuesday night. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN – Hundreds of people braved the cold Tuesday evening for Auburn’s second annual New Year’s Eve celebration at Festival Plaza on Main Street.

Main Street was closed to make room for the party, and at 6 p.m. people began to arrive. By 8 p.m., the plaza was bustling with activity at several warming stations, or near the three food trucks parked next to the Skelton Taintor & Abbott building.

Dora Sargent of Portland and Monica Cooke of Old Orchard Beach came to New Year’s Auburn to celebrate Tuesday night. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

A beer garden was stationed at one end of Main Street, where local breweries, including Lost Valley, Gritty’s, Baxter, Craft Brew Underground, and Side by Each, set up shop and served customers.

Three local bands – The Jumpin’ Willies, The Farmhouse Project and Hello Newman – provided music.

Walter Crites of Auburn said that been to both of Auburn’s New Years Eve parties and both have been “great.”

“I came to the first one and it was great, and this one is just as good,” Crites said, who attended with his wife and sister-in-law. “We live right in Auburn, so having something so close is really nice.”

Dan Brown of Auburn said that he was happy to see the fireworks display starting at 10 p.m.

“My wife works late, so the fact that there’s fireworks at 10 p.m. instead of midnight is amazing,” Brown said. “That means we’re both able to make it out and see it.”

Linda Tanguay of Lewiston said the prospect of socializing outdoors with music, and food and drinks nearby was too tantalizing to pass up.

“I mean, my friends and I usually get dinner somewhere on New Year’s Eve, or go to a movie, but we heard about this, and it sounded like a lot of fun,” Tanguay said.

Dan Scott, a recently retired firefighter with nearly 50 years of experience, was watching the Jumpin’ Willies perform on stage with a friend, said the celebration was “a lot of fun.”

He said he lived in an apartment building a few hundred feet away from Festival Plaza, which made the party an enticing draw.

“It’s very convenient,” Scott said. “I have a bird’s-eye view of the party from where I live. If I need a bathroom break or want some food, I can just walk to my place and come right back after.”

Scott, who worked in Augusta for 22 years before retiring and volunteering with the Minot Fire Department, said that typically, he rings in the New Year with friends.

“Ever since I moved to (Main Street), this has been a fun way to pass New Year’s Eve,” Scott said.

The temperature hovered around 30 degrees, but nobody seemed to mind.

“We’re from Maine,” Crites said. “Can’t complain about a little cold.”

Renita Ouellette of Gardiner takes a photo of the Christmas tree in Festival Plaza in Auburn on Tuesday night at the New Year’s Auburn celebration. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Peter Casares cheers on the Farmhouse Project band as they start playing a cover of “Wagon Wheel” at the second annual New Year’s Auburn celebration Tuesday night in Festival Plaza. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

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