'An Old-Fashioned Christmas' returns to Bath

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BATH — The times may change, but the city maintains the classic holiday season atmosphere with its annual celebration of “An Old-Fashioned Christmas.”

Mari Eosco, interim director of Main Street Bath, has been participating in the month-long series of events over the 15 years she’s been with the organization. It took on even greater meaning when Eosco, also the City Council chairwoman, became a mother.

“The past nine Christmases, my family has always had this as a very special time,” she said Nov. 15. “… It’s just a really fun time for families.”

The celebration begins with a visit from Santa Claus, who will be at Patten Free Library, 33 Summer St., on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Storytime and ornament making in the library’s Children’s Room kicks off the day’s events at 11 a.m., and St. Nick arrives at 3 p.m. for a Children’s Tree lighting at the Library Park gazebo. The kids can hang their newly made ornaments on the tree, and jingle bells will be passed around for ringing as the throng walks with Santa and Mrs. Claus to City Hall, 55 Front St., for visiting, caroling, cookies and refreshments.

Christmas caroling by trolley will jazz up downtown streets Fridays and Saturdays in December. Passengers, who can come armed with blankets and hot beverages, are picked up at City Hall every half hour. Free tickets are distributed from a nearby booth at 4:30 p.m. in advance on a first-come, first-served capacity.

“That’s been a huge success,” Eosco said. “For families to go out and see the Christmas lights around town, and sing songs together.”

Caroling takes place from 5-9 p.m. Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23.

Shops and restaurants will remain open late Friday, Dec. 15, from 5-8 p.m. Christmas lights illuminate the streets, and holiday music, special gifts and refreshments will be offered. Shoppers, encouraged to wear Santa hats, can vote in Bath’s downtown Christmas window decorating contest.

Food donations for families in need are welcome through the season. Santa’s bags are available beginning Nov. 25 at City Hall, Bath Savings Institution (105 Front St.), Brackett’s Market (185 Front St.), First Federal Bank (55 Congress Ave. and 125 Front St.), and Now You’re Cooking (49 Front St.).

Non-perishable food items will be distributed to the Bath Area Food Bank in time for Christmas.

Red Letter Boxes, into which letters for Santa and holiday cards for Bath-area seniors can be put, will be located around downtown starting Nov. 25.

The annual Paul Revere bell ringing concludes the month’s events from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30. Singing precedes the ringing at the corner of Front and Centre streets, and refreshments will be available at City Hall after the ceremony.

Log onto visitbath.com/events/an-old-fashioned-christmas-in-bath for more information.

The Chocolate Church Arts Center (804 Washington St.) offers a variety of holiday-themed attractions, such as “Sing! It’s Christmas,” a community sing-along, at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18. Admission is free.

Other Chocolate Church events which charge admission include “Motown Christmas” with Pat Colwell & The Soul Sensations (Nov. 25); “Christmas is Magic” with magician Scot Grassette (Saturday, Dec. 2); the Sweetback Sisters (Friday, Dec. 8); “Turning of the Year” (Saturday, Dec. 9); “SCROOGE!” (Thursday, Dec. 14 to Sunday, Dec. 17); and a Newfoundland-style New Year’s Eve party with the Soul Sensations (Sunday, Dec. 31).

A full schedule is available at chocolatechurcharts.org.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

“An Old-Fashioned Christmas” kicks off in Bath Saturday, Nov. 25, with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus at Library Park, and a march to City Hall for continued festivities.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.