Steam Boat entertains Bath Farmers Market goers with some very snappy string band music on a recent Saturday morning. The Bath Freight Shed hosts the Farmers Market and is home to the Maine’s First Ship Virginia project, among other things, and the Alliance will meet to discuss that and other matters on Jan. 19.by Kitty Wheeler
Coastal Journal contributor
BATH — The annual meeting of Bath Freight Shed Alliance will be held Saturday, Jan. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Winter Street Center, 880 Washington St. The community is invited to attend, and attendees are encouraged to bring a potluck dish and/or make a contribution at the door to help with renovations on the freight shed.
For the past 18 months, the Alliance has had a busy and productive time, making good use of the Freight Shed – working with Maine’s First Ship, and hosting events on the back lawn, et cetera. The major thrust has been to renovate the shed by raising funds from grants, and from a successful drive on the online fundraising site www.kickstarter.com. Thanks to these efforts, the 19th century building has a new roof, new electrical wiring, modern heaters, a restored bathroom, and small community room, where local nonprofit organizations tout their mission, advertise their lecture series, and entice you to join.
Five current board members, under the expert chairmanship of Wiebke Theodore, have started a campaign for charter members.
The campaign needs to raise $18,000 to $23,000 for shed construction work on Commercial Street this spring. The sill needs to be replaced, and the foundation wall will needs to be shored up. A later project will restore the exterior of the freight shed with new clapboards.
This campaign offers the opportunity to buy a brick and have it engraved with your name. The cost of these bricks is $150. The Alliance is a nonprofit organization, so your contributions are tax deductible. The bricks will become part of a new sidewalk the city will build in the summer; it will abut the freight shed on Commercial Street. Businesses are also invited to support the alliance. Their brick purchase and business membership is $200, or they may become a member for $100 with web recognition.
The Farmers Market has enjoyed a successful winter season inside the freight shed. Each Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon, 25 vendors display and sell their merchandise. Vendors say they are having a far more lucrative season than in the past years; some say they have doubled their shares. New customers are showing up each Saturday. The Alliance will be preparing a Bath Farmers Market menu for supper on Saturday.
The Freight Shed opens its doors for public events the rest of the year. Last summer, there was a dinner to benefit the Bath Food Bank. A chili cook-off during Heritage Days brought a lot of tourists to the building. Private events are also possible; there will be the shed’s first wedding in August.
Interested persons should plan to attend the Alliance’s gathering this Saturday, Jan. 19. There will be a silent auction that will include four skeins of sea-color yarn from Meadowcroft Farm; a limited-edition, framed print by Jim O’Reilly; and a Kombucha Beer Brew Kit from Bath Natural Foods. Sign up sheets for volunteering at the freight shed will also be available. Help is need with fundraising activities, as well as hands-on help to further winterize the shed on Friday afternoons, organizing pop-up art shows and concerts in the summer, and creating workshops.
There will be a short meeting to share the opportunities for the community, nonprofit groups, and individuals to use the Bath Freight Shed. Past and current activities there will be highlighted with a slide show. New board members Elizabeth Knowlton, Rebecca Farnham, and Deb Hahn will be introduced, and various other committed individuals will soon be joining the board.
You will also meet new friends and enjoy the company of those you already know. And the chance to become part of the history of the place, by having a brick in the sidewalk engraved with your name, should give you an irresistable sense of power and satisfaction. If you can’t make it Saturday, you can just send your contribution to Bath Freight Shed Alliance, 349 Bald Head Road, Arrowsic, ME 04530.