Bath will celebrate the holidays with an old-fashioned Christmas. Courtesy / Amanda McDaniel

BATH — The city is gearing up for a modified holiday celebration due to the pandemic, but “2020 In Bath: An Old-Fashioned Christmas” will still feature many of the festivities that make the holidays special in Bath.

“Public safety is our first priority, so we had to do some reinventing,” said Amanda McDaniel, director of Main Street Bath, which is hosting the festivities.

The season typically kicks off with a large gathering at the Patten Free Library, where the community decorates the Christmas tree as a group and then Santa himself lights it. This year, the town provided take-and-make ornament boxes that are available to be picked up at Bath Savings Institution, Pitter Patter Boutique, Mockingbird Bookstore, Island Treasure Toys and Patten Free Library. Those who wish to contribute their ornaments to the community tree can drop them off at one of the two collection boxes at Bath Savings Institution and the library. 

Santa will be lighting the community Christmas tree on Saturday, Nov. 28, in the community room at the Patten Free Library, a virtual event that can be accessed through Main Street Bath’s Facebook live event.

Throughout December, there will be chances to catch a glimpse of Santa in person as he makes appearances around Bath during Saturday Santa sightings.

Bright Night Bath, a yearly tradition where the streets are full of festive shoppers, has been canceled. Instead, local businesses have been encouraged to stay open late on Fridays in December, giving people a chance to shop local after work and not have to worry about large crowds.

Rita Hurd, of Lisbon, has been the manager of Treasure Island Toys in Bath for almost three years. Her store will be extending it’s hours to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday for the holiday season.

“Bath people love to support locals, so I know we’re going to get business even during the COVID season,” Hurd said. “I think people are just thankful that downtown Bath is open and even with the restrictions that they’re still able to come out and shop.”

Houses within a mile radius of City Hall have the opportunity to partake in a neighborhood decorating contest, a map of which will be outlined in Maine Street’s Christmas brochures, available in retail shops the first week of December. Community members can take a driving or walking tour of participating houses and vote for their favorite in the brochure before submitting it in one of the two red letter boxes in town. People can also use the brochure to vote for their favorite window decoration in the downtown storefronts.

Additional festivities and events can be found on Main Street Bath’s website at visitbath.com.

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