BATH – Saturday, Ed Rogers could uncross his fingers.

After enduring a flooded crafts section last year, the director of Bath Heritage Days was soaking in the sun Saturday and enjoying a forecast that promised more clear skies and warm temperatures for the rest of the four-day event that will culminate in fireworks over the Kennebec River Monday night.

Rogers said that the 38th annual celebration of the midcoast city and its shipbuilding legacy has grown to the point where it rivals the Yarmouth Clam Festival down the coast, to be held in a couple of weeks. He expects about 60,000 people to enjoy carnival rides, play games, browse the work of local artists and craftspeople and take in the parades — one on land and another on the river.

“It’s just taken on a life of its own,” he said.

Rogers runs the festival for Main Street Bath, a group that helps promote downtown businesses. He said local groups use the event as a fundraiser, while his organization uses money from renting out space and its share of carnival revenue to support its work keeping downtown lively and competitive with malls.

The events are strung along a four- or five-square block section of downtown Bath, with most of the activity centered around Library Park — which is where a small pond flooded last year following a heavy rain — and Waterfront Park.

The McKee family of Lewiston, particularly Trina and Evan McKee’s small daughter, Tristan, was focusing on the rides and other carnival activities set up in Waterfront Park.

The family moved here two months ago after living in South Carolina and New Mexico and said they were busy exploring their new state.

“I think we’ve tried every lobster roll there is so far,” said Trina McKee while Tristan enjoyed another summer delicacy — shaved ice.

Nearby Anthony Merritt, 8, was busy honing his air rifle and dart-throwing skills at the games booths, winning an inflatable Batman character and a stuffed snake.

His grandmother, Vivian Merritt, said the attractions offered by Heritage Days drew the family off the water. They usually take their boat up the coast on Independence Day to take in fireworks from the water, but figured this year they’ll see them from the riverside in their hometown.

The event continues today with a mile-long fun run and 5-mile road race in the morning, the parade at 1 p.m. and other activities, such as a strawberry shortcake festival and skateboard competition. Monday’s events include an antique car show on Front Street, the boat parade on the river at 2 p.m. and the fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]