Bath Heritage Days returns for 43rd year

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BATH — Downtown will become party central, offering a variety of activities for all ages, when the 43rd annual Bath Heritage Days arrives next weekend.

The four-day event kicks off at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 2, with the launching of Smokey’s Greatest Show and Carnival, live entertainment, and food and vendors at Waterfront Park. A Friends of Patten Free Library preview book sale for members will run at the Winter Street Center, across the street from the library, from 5-8 p.m.

Things ramp up Friday, July 3, with the official start of the library book sale, which like the carnival runs through Sunday. Kids Day will be held from 1-3 p.m. at Library Park, where the Bath Swing Band plays at 7 p.m.

Live entertainment continues at Waterfront Park, and the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark, 4 Old Brunswick Road, will host an “Independence Jam” skateboard competition at 6 p.m., with a 3 p.m. warm up.

The final two days of the festival promise to be the biggest.

A one-mile “Fun Run” starts Independence Day at City Hall at 7:30 a.m., with a five-mile road race to follow at 8:15 a.m. The Farmers Market is open at the west side of Library Park from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and the Made-in-Maine craft and art show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the park, and on the following day.

And with Independence Day, of course, comes a parade. Pre-parade entertainment starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 4; children (accompanied by an adult family member with a camera) can have their pictures taken with the many colorful parade mascots. The Customs House lawn event wraps up at 9:30 a.m., so that the mascots can get ready for the parade.

The procession starts at the corner of North and Lincoln streets at 10 a.m., moving south on Lincoln Street, east on Centre Street, and then north on Front Street, wrapping up on North Street, just past the library. The parade awards ceremony will take place on the Waterfront Park stage at 1 p.m.

The Cosmopolitan Club hosts the Strawberry Shortcake Festival at its 894 Washington St. headquarters from noon to 4 p.m., and a fireman’s muster will take place at the north end of Front Street from noon to 3 p.m. Live entertainment will run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Waterfront and Library parks.

The “Front Street Shuffle,” an antique car show, kicks things off Sunday, July 5, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Another skateboard competition takes place at the Skatepark from 3 p.m., with the warm-up starting at noon.

The 13th annual Chili-Chowder Fest, runs from 3-5:30 p.m. at 26 Summer St. and features the Scott Davis Swing Band. Kennebec Tavern and Jimbo’s Diner, both based in Bath, will compete in this Skatepark fundraiser.

The end of Heritage Days is all about the fireworks. Maine’s First Ship hosts a fireworks party at the historic Freight Shed on Commercial Street from 7-10 p.m., the Bath Municipal Band plays a pre-fireworks concert at Library Park at 8 p.m., and fireworks light up the Kennebec River at 9 p.m.

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

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.