BATH — Bath Heritage Days, an annual five-day festival that occurs around the Fourth of July in downtown Bath, has been canceled due to concerns about coronavirus.

Main Street Bath, the local chapter of a national network that seeks to revitalize downtowns and promote economic development, announced the cancelation on Friday via the organization’s Facebook page.

“After much evaluation and weighing of options, our Board has decided that it is in our community’s best interest to cancel Heritage Days for 2020,” wrote Amanda McDaniel, executive director of Main Street Bath. “This decision was made not only for the general safety of our friends and family but for our businesses and nonprofits as well, who may not be in a position to be a sponsor or gather sufficient resources for participation this year.”

This would have been the 48th year of Bath Heritage Days.

Peter Owen, Bath city manager, said while the city will miss the festivities this summer, canceling the event was the best decision for the community’s safety.

Last year’s Heritage Days, stretched from Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7. The festivities included a music festival, a carnival, craft show, fireworks, a Fourth of July parade, and tours on the Mary E., a fishing schooner built in Bath in 1906.

“(Bath Heritage Days) is the city’s moment to shine and reach out to other communities to celebrate what makes Bath unique,” Owen said. “It gives the city longer-term exposure because people come into Bath and discover it in a way they might not have otherwise.”

McDaniel encouraged Bath residents to “keep finding ways to support one another by staying connected, spending their dollars locally and support our small businesses and nonprofits as we find our way through this together.”

This cancellation comes the week after the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce canceled its annual Clam Festival. This would have been the 55th year of the Yarmouth Clam Festival, which is always held in July and attracts about 80,000 people over three days.

Last month Gov. Janet Mills announced a statewide stay-at-home order, which prohibits Mainers from leaving their homes for “all but essential activities” such as grocery shopping, seeking medical care, or exercising outside. The order is set to expire on April 30, but the governor can extend it or impose new prohibitions should coronavirus continue to spread.

Citing the Maine CDC, The Portland Press Herald reported 867 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 34 deaths as of Sunday.


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