Kids, parents and local police officers do the chicken dance before the parade reaches City Hall on Sunday morning. John Terhune / The Times Record

Thousands gathered in Bath to play, shop and dance this weekend, as the city’s four-day Heritage Days celebration returned after a two-year absence.

“I think the community was really ready to celebrate again,” said Camille Kauffunger,” assistant to the director of Maine Street Bath, which organized the event. “People are really showing up this year.”

Fifty years after the town’s inaugural Heritage Days celebration, the Bath Swing Band set the weekend’s retro tone Friday night during the Morse High School Booster’s barbeque at Library Park. Saturday’s Historic Fireman’s Muster and Sunday’s Front Street Shuffle Antique Car Show offered visitors glimpses into the town’s past.

“It’s really just sort of this timeless look that makes Bath look so precious” Kauffunger said of the car show, which featured over 140 classic vehicles.

Joe Bisson sits in his 1919 GMC truck on Sunday morning, just as his grandfather Lucien “Joe” Bisson might have done 100 years ago. John Terhune / The Times Record

Joe Bisson displayed his 1919 GMC truck, the same model his grandfather Lucien “Joe” Bisson drove 100 years ago as the owner of “Bisson Moving and Storage.” Bisson, who has participated in Heritage Days since childhood, said he was happy to see the event return after the pandemic scuttled it in 2020 and 2021.

“I think everybody had two years to work on their projects,” he said. “It shows.”


Guests flooded Bath on Saturday and Sunday, led by children eager to try the games and rides of Smokey’s Greater Shows Carnival on Commercial Street. After trying attractions like “The Scrambler” and “Smokey’s Super Slide,” fairgoers feasted on snacks like fried dough, poutine and ice cream from an assortment of colorful food trucks and stands.

Guests at Smokey’s Greater Shows Carnival attempt to win prizes at lunchtime on Sunday, July 3. John Terhune / The Times Record

Over a dozen musical acts performed throughout the weekend at Waterfront and Library Parks, entertaining guests as they lounged in the shade or browsed books and crafts for sale outside Patten Free Library.

A sea of American flags and banners decorated Front Street Monday morning, as the final day of the celebration kicked off with a one-mile fun run and five-mile road race. 152 racers competed in the five-mile course, which finished just in front of City Hall, according to Dana Delahanty, assistant director of Bath Parks and Recreation.

Leiha Lynn finishes the five-mile race course Monday morning wearing a Statue of Costume. John Terhune / The Times Record

Topsham native Jessica Wilcox won the female division with a time of 33:18.  Male winner Wesley Luis, who finished with a time of 28:51, was among many participants and fans decked in patriotic colors.

“It’s really good just to see people coming out here again,” said Delahanty. “We’re glad to have (the race) back after a two-year hiatus.”

Bath residents and visitors from around the state soon joined the competitors along the town’s sidewalks in preparation for Monday’s 10 a.m. parade. Songs like “Living in America,” “American Girl” and “American Pie” gave way to emcee Johnny Ater, who bantered with guests and recruited children for an enthusiastic rendition of the chicken dance.

Members of Bath Youth Cheer ride up Center Street during Maine’s largest Fourth of July parade on Sunday morning. John Terhune / The Times Record

At 10 a.m., the Paul Revere Bell sounded, and approximately 60 veteran’s groups, non-profits, businesses and other community organizations marched or rode up Center Street, saluted the parade judges, and turned down Front Street to cheers.

Bath claims their Heritage Days celebration includes the largest Fourth of July parade in the state. Yet after two years of absence it felt even bigger, at least to Ater.

“This is the biggest Fourth of July parade in the world,” he joked. “And probably the universe.”

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