Belfast’s New Year’s By the Bay has become a tradition; this year’s celebration will get underway 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31 and run to after midnight. The community-supported nonprofit organization is well under way with preparations for NYBB 2011, its 14th anniversary.

With the help of dedicated volunteers and supporters and the participation of gifted performers, NYBB continues to provide a chem-free, affordable, safe, cultural arts celebration showcasing Belfast’s unique architectural downtown and promoting Belfast as the multicultural, renaissance city by the bay.

Belfast’s New Year’s By The Bay organization and event were created in 1997 from the inspiration and vision of one person who, with great enthusiasm, presented the idea over and over to people and organizations those first months. One by one, participation made a difference, the talk turned to planning and a sound foundation for the community event was established.

New Year’s By The Bay is a stand-alone 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to provide the people of Belfast, Waldo County and beyond with a cultural, family-oriented, chem-free celebration of the new year. The goal is to celebrate the spirit of Belfast by showcasing local Maine talent, promoting tourism and encouraging civic involvement and volunteerism. The non-profit organization depends on and is thankful for the strong support its receives from city government, local businesses, churches, service organizations and private citizens.

To date, more than 36,000 people have participated in NYBB. Every admission button sold helps to support the start up, production and performer costs of the event. There are no administration costs; venues donate their spaces, businesses provide in-kind support and many volunteers work tirelessly to make this event a success. Donors help support and underwrite this event, to maintain affordable admission button prices.

The New Year’s by the Bay button provides admission to all events, as space allows. Buttons are $15, $5 for K through 12 students and free for younger children. They are on sale in advance at the Belfast Coop, Parent Gallery, Mr. Paperback, Hannaford in Belfast, Belfast Harbor Inn and the Comfort Inn Ocean’s Edge. For more information, call 323-1748 or visit nybb.org.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.