Maine is a well-connected state, and you don’t need to live near Lewiston, Lisbon or Bowdoin to be affected by this tragedy, but we do, and that makes it all the more impactful on our mindsets, our piece of mind and our aching hearts. This will not go away soon, nor should it, as we will continue to grieve the losses of the 18 Mainers who are no longer with us. Nevertheless, we must move forward one step at a time, and for our chamber, that means keeping you informed of the biggest things going on in our area.

Before we do that, though, I do want to take a moment and applaud Shanna Cox and her staff at the L/A Metro Chamber and their board of directors for their leadership, kindness and compassion in helping their communities with the necessary information and guidance required during an impossibly difficult situation. When tragedy strikes, community organizations can become the unifiers of need, and often, when things are at their worse, true leadership can shine a light on the good. It will continue to be a long road back but know our chamber will continue to share the vital messaging needed when there are events, fundraisers and other important updates from the L/A Metro communities, as they continue to overcome the obstacles these events generated.

With that, a great way to regain some sense of normalcy is to get involved with things in your community and around the state. To some, it may seem a little callous to be bringing up local events, and I don’t necessarily disagree, as understandably not everyone will be ready to reengage in their communities quite yet. However, we can at least lay a path forward for those who are eager for something to dive into, and for those not ready yet, please do take your time and know that when you are ready to reengage, we will be there to welcome you with open arms.

Here are five ways you can engage in your communities in the coming weeks:

Shopping local this holiday season

Our good friends over at the Lisbon Economic & Community Development office sent out a super classy message on Facebook this weekend which essentially said: “As we get past this tragedy, one great way you can help is to support your local businesses. Two days or more of lost sales can be extremely harmful for a business, so if you’re thinking of doing some shopping today, or you want to help a community, maybe spend a few dollars in Lisbon.” That message inspired our family to grab dinner in Lisbon that night.

It’s a great reminder for all towns, too, as shopping local is such a key economic driver during our holiday season. Sure, it’s easy to sit on the couch and have boxes arrive on your doorstep, but Amazon doesn’t sponsor the local Little League team or volunteer at community events. Virtual shopping doesn’t show your local store owner that you appreciate all that they do to keep our main streets vibrant or show the mall employees just how much we appreciate them working tirelessly during a busy season to be there for us. Shopping local will make a big difference to your neighbors this year.


Early Bird Sales Nov. 4 and Nov. 11

Both Main Street programs can help you with shopping local if you want to participate in their early bird sales. The early bird sale that Maine Street Bath is running is this Saturday, Nov. 4 ( The early bird sale that Brunswick Downtown Association is hosting is next Saturday, Nov. 11 (

Bed Races Nov. 11

On the same Saturday as the BDA’s Early Bird Sale is the triumphant return of the Bed Races on Park Row. Come see crazy antics as our holiday-clad participants compete for bragging rights and attention in a must-see family-friendly event. For more information check out the BDA website.

Vote on Nov. 7

There are many school board, town council seats and other local races on many ballots this year as well as eight ballot questions that need your attention. Avid readers know that I wrote a three-part series in September outlining the two sides of the eight ballot questions. Links to those can be found on The Times Record website or on the BBRC website at Additionally, our chamber did take a stance on Question 3 and have two considerations for Questions 1 and 2 (as they are not full-fledged stances but are related to our feelings on Question 3). That stance ran last week in this space and is also on the BBRC website. Finally, look for a video version of those columns later this week on the BBRC Facebook and Instagram if you would prefer to watch an “8 Ballot Questions in 8 Minutes” video that we are filming Thursday.

Midcoast Tree Festival extension — donations and volunteers welcome

We have until the end of this week to recruit donations and tree sponsors for our Midcoast Tree Festival, which beings on Nov. 17. We need to submit our paperwork 10 days prior to the event, so this is the last call if you want to help our chamber, Spectrum Generation and All Saints Parish, and be a part of one of the largest fundraising events of the year. We would love to have your help.

Gift donations as small as $25 help us create elaborate trees that families can win for 50 cents, and honestly, it’s a great way to promote your business. In terms of your own staff diving into a project, few things help a staff bond like working together to build a tree space to give away. Email for more details. Also, volunteering for the MTF is a great way to get involved — find the volunteer link at under the Midcoast Tree Festival page.

Cory King is executive director of the Bath-Brunswick Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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