BATH — The city’s 46th annual Heritage Days celebration is blending its usual popular offerings with some new material.
Johnny Lomba, this year’s event coordinator, has brought his love of music into shaping the lineup of acts taking the stage during the festival, which runs Friday, June 29, to Wednesday, July 4.
“That’s his expertise,” Mari Eosco, Main Street Bath interim director and Bath City Council chairwoman said in an interview June 20. “He’s continuing with some of the local bands that are well loved, but he’s bringing in some bigger acts that I think are going to draw a bigger crowd.”
For example, there’s the Vapors of Morphine, which will take the Waterfront Park stage at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 3. The group is comprised of the surviving members of Morphine, formed a decade after frontman Mark Sandman’s death from a heart attack in 1999.
“I’m hearing a lot of positive buzz amongst my own peers who have looked at the schedule,” Eosco said.
Also performing at Waterfront Park are Will Bradford, the Work Trucks, Welterweight, Royal Hammer and Will Dailey on Saturday; the Birchbenders, Chicky Stoltz Band, King Memphis, the Joel Thetford Band, and Spencer Albee & His Band on Sunday; Kris Rodgers & the Dirty Gems, Sea Level, Town Meeting, Sqrrlflwr, Seepeoples, and the Mallett Brothers on Monday; Music with a Message, the Worst, Golden Oak, Joseph Gallant, Chris Ross & the North, and Armies on Tuesday; and Chunkk, Max Ater, Sunset Hearts, and Pat Colwell & the Soul Sensations on Wednesday.
The Library Park gazebo’s musical lineup includes the Bath Swing Band Friday; Chip Simpson & Ryan, Bob Rasero & The Renovators, and Chicky Stoltz Saturday; and Jimmy Jo & The Jumbol’Ayuhs, and Southernmost Magnolia Sunday.
Log onto bathheritagedays.com for full festival and musical schedules.
Friday kicks Heritage Days off with a chicken barbecue at Library Park from 5-7 p.m., and Independence Jam Skateboard Competition at the Bath Skatepark, 4 Old Brunswick Road, at 6 p.m.
Smokey’s Greatest Show and Carnival runs all six days at Waterfront Park, as does the Friends of Patten Free Library book sale at Winter Street Church, 880 Washington St.
On Saturday, the Bath Farmers Market offers its goods at the Bath Iron Works north end parking lot from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The Maine Artisans’ Marketplace takes place at Library Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a Fireman’s Muster charges up the crowd at the north end of Front Street from noon-3 p.m.
Sunday offers the Front Street Shuffle Antique Car Show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Maine Artisans’ Marketplace at Library Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Chili-Chowder Fest at 26 Summer St. from 3-5:30 p.m.
Monday is Kids Day, held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a yoga session at Library Park from 7-8 a.m. kicks things off Tuesday.
“Kids Day by popular demand has been expanded,” Eosco said. “Instead of just being a couple hours, it’s most of the day on Monday with added activities.”
Those include giant Jenga, art projects, hula hooping and bubble blowing, and fun with a parachute.
“Just things for families to be doing together,” Eosco said.
Wednesday, the festival’s final day, opens with a 1-mile Fun Run at 7:30 a.m., followed by a 5-mile road race from City Hall, 55 Front St., at 8:15 a.m. The Independence Day Parade starts at North and Lincoln streets at 10 a.m., then moves south on Lincoln, east on Centre and north on Front, before ending at North Street, just beyond Patten Free Library.
Back this year, the Strawberry Shortcake Social will be held at Library Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Maine’s First Ship will host a fireworks party at the historic Freight Shed, 27 Commercial St., from 7-10 p.m. The Bath Municipal Band plays a pre-fireworks show at Library Park at 8 p.m., followed by fireworks over the Kennebec River at 9 a.m.
Although some residents complain about Heritage Days, which brings an influx of pedestrian and vehicular traffic to the City of Ships, “they all secretly love it,” Eosco said. “There’s something really comfortable and familiar about Heritage Days, and I think that that comes from traditions that have continued for a long time.”
“It’s there for all stages of their lives,” she added, noting that she was a child when Heritage Days was new. “(For) people who’ve grown up here, it’s just a very familiar time to them.”
“It really is a celebration of our community,” Eosco said. “That’s how it started, and then it’s how it’s continued.”
Bath’s 46th annual Heritage Days celebration runs from Friday, June 29, to Wednesday, July 4. City Hall gets decked out for the Independence Day tradition.