Bath celebrates with month-long 'Old-Fashioned Christmas'

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BATH — The city known for its annual Heritage Days, Autumnfest and Old Blarney Days celebrations is no slouch either when it comes to the December holiday season.

Various activities on Saturday, Nov. 28,  kick off “An Old-Fashioned Christmas in Bath.” Story time and ornament making will take place in the Children’s Room at Patten Free Library, 33 Summer St., at 11 a.m., and Santa will arrive on an antique fire truck at 3 p.m. to light the Children’s Tree at the Library Park gazebo.

The party will proceed up Front Street, culminating with cookies, refreshments and caroling at City Hall, 55 Front St., with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

One change this year is the expansion of trolley Christmas caroling from just Fridays to include Saturdays as well. It’s been a hit with singers and the trolley driver alike, and “generous support” from donors allowed for the addition, Jake Korb, director of the Main Street Bath organization, said in an interview Nov. 18.

Passengers are picked up from City Hall every half hour from 5-9 p.m., and there is no admission charge.

The night of caroling Friday, Dec. 11 will coincide with the downtown Bath open house. Restaurants and merchants will stay open late, offering refreshments and unique gifts from 5-8 p.m. Shoppers can vote for their favorite display in a Christmas window decorating contest.

“It’s just a fun night to be walking around downtown,” Korb said.

Five Bath bed and breakfasts will offer open houses of their own Saturday, Dec. 12. Tickets to tour all five between 4-7 p.m. event cost $10, and revenues benefit Main Street Bath and the Bath Food Bank.

“People can see all their festive decorations, and a couple of examples of beautiful Bath homes,” Korb said. “It’ll be impressive.”

Participating B&Bs include the Mulberry House (formerly the Galen Moses House) and the Inn at Bath, both on Washington Street; the Benjamin Packard House on Pearl Street; the Pryor House on Front Street; and the Kennebec Inn on High Street.

Starting Nov. 28, people fill Santa’s bags around the city with nonperishable food donations. The bags will be located in the lobbies of City Hall, Bath Savings Institution (105 Front St.), Brackett’s Market (185 Front St.), First Federal Bank (Congress Avenue and Front Street locations), and Now You’re Cooking (49 Front St.).

Donations will go to the Food Bank. Items most in need include boxed stuffing, instant potatoes, canned sweet potatoes, turkey gravy, canned vegetables and pasta, boxed macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce and canned meats.

“Red Boxes” – not the movie rental kind, but into which letters for Santa and holiday cards for Bath area seniors can be put – will be located around downtown.

The 14th annual Paul Revere bell ringing wraps up the month’s events from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31. Singing precedes the ringing at the corner of Front and Centre streets, and refreshments will be available at City Hall after the ceremony.

Kord, who joined Main Street Bath shortly before this year’s Heritage Days, said he looks forward to meeting more members of the community.

“It’s exciting to see Bath in a different light,” he added. “and seeing those holiday decorations, and that picturesque old-fashioned New England Christmas scene is going to be something exciting for me, and I think a lot of families enjoy that as well.”

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

The City of Ships is celebrating the spirit of the holidays with the annual event, “Old-Fashioned Christmas in Bath.”

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.