Bath to celebrate fall with annual Autumnfest

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BATH — Summer is over, so Autumnfest is about to begin.

The annual Columbus Day-weekend celebration takes place Saturday, Oct. 7,  throughout the city.

Among events during the day will be Citizen Involvement Day, in which Bath each year lauds people and groups whose work benefits the city and its residents. More than 40 nonprofit organizations will set up at the 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Waterfront Park event to boost their initiatives.

This year’s feature band is Steelin’ Thunder, “a really cool steel drum group” that donates all gig proceeds to scholarships in the Mid-Coast area, said Becky Welsh, who, with Sherry Owen, co-chairs Autumnfest.

“They never take a paycheck for this,” she said in an interview Sept. 21.

Autumnfest also features the “Great Scarecrow Event,” at which people make scarecrows from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on the Customs House lawn, 1 Front St. Bath Parks and Recreation Department supplies the body frame, markers and hay, and participants have to bring the clothes and accessories. Call 443-8360 for more information.

A four-way 5K run/walk starts and ends at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 807 Middle St., at 9 a.m. Cash prizes go to finishers. The pre-registration fee is $20 before Oct. 6, and $25 the day of the week. Students 18 and younger pay $10.

Registration and bib or T-shirt pick-up runs from 7-8:30 a.m. in the parking lot.

Contact race director Melissa Boulette at 371-8002 or msawyer@pfbf.com. Register at runsignup.com/Race/ME/Bath/BathRotary5K.

The Bath Farmers Market runs from 8:30 a.m.-noon at Waterfront Park, and Halcyon Yarn, 12 School St., offers fiber craft demonstrations at its annual open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The North Front Street Block Party runs from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., offering coloring and pumpkin decorating contests, bowling and tic-tac-toe, a bean bag toss, a sausage sandwich and concession stand hosted by the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark, and the music of Steelin’ Thunder.

“For the most part, it’s a street festival,” Welsh said.

Main Street Bath offers “Shop Locally” rewards, through which consumers receive a $10 Gift of Bath gift certificate after spending at least $50 at a participating business throughout Autumnfest. A list of businesses is posted at visitbath.com/events/autumnfest.

As the day winds down, the Chocolate Church Arts Center, 804 Washington St., will present music by Castlebay at 7:30 p.m.

A costumed group of volunteers, garbed as Charlie Brown characters and catering to this year’s “Where’s the Great Pumpkin?” theme, will judge business window displays, Welsh said. She noted that the Mustard Seed Bookstore will give away 10 Great Pumpkin books to children through a raffle that day.

“It’s very entertaining,” Welsh said of Autumnfest’s no-cost activities. “It’s definitely a nice way to spend a fall afternoon. It’s a fun way to see your neighbors out and about and having fun.”

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

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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.