BATH — Four years ago, Morse High School alumna Bryanna Ringrose had a simple mission: Get people together so they can be kind to each other.

This Saturday, her vision of a kinder Bath will return for the fourth installment of Kindness Day. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Front and Centre streets, kindness will flow from booths, businesses, and anyone who happens to be strolling by.

“Kindness Day gives us one day, one place, and one time, to deliberately bring some kindness into our little city,” said Darreby Ambler, who helped organize the first Kindness Day.

Ringrose was part of Ambler’s “Dream Team,” which helps students realize their visions. Ringrose’s vision happened to be bringing out kindness in people.
She’s certainly succeeded. Over the past four years, hundreds of people have attended Kindness Day to spread joy to anyone they meet.

Stations like “Pat-a-Pet” invite people to bring their friendly dogs, iguanas, guinea pigs, rescue rats, and more to be a pop-up petting zoo for those who need some love from an animal friend. So far, it already looks like dozens of dogs will be returning for another year.

The “Listening Booth” pairs people with someone who will listen to what you have to say without interrupting, for as long as you need to share.

Another returning stand is the “Wisdom Station,” manned by Plant Home residents giving some life advice from their well-earned well of experiences.

There are new stands this year, as well. Kindness Bingo will have people pick a bingo card with ideas for kind deeds to do at the festival. Anyone who does five in a row can get a small prize. Another is balloon animals made by 6-year-old Maddie McDorr.

Michele Ober, manager of the Habitat ReStore, will be participating at the Take-a-Treat table, which offers fresh baked goods. Free hugs, jokes, a popcorn station, and more will also spread the cheer.

Over 100 people have turned out to volunteer this year, said Ambler, and in the past hundreds more have attended. That collaborative spirit is part of what makes Kindness Day special.

“There is no commercial purpose; organizations aren’t even there to recruit people — they are there to show kindness and generosity to the people who turn up that day,” she said. “And instead of people coming as ‘consumers’ they come as participants, with their own small kind deeds. It is truly a celebration that everyone in town puts on for each other.”

Kindness has spread beyond the stands in years past. A coffee line at Cafe Creme, where people paid for the person behind them, lasted for hours. Bicycles have been given away, art has been created (and again, given freely), and even a “Baby Calming Station” started by two grandmothers on a bench popped up.

Kindness Day has been fully supported by Bath City Council. On Aug. 2, council gave a proclamation recognizing Aug. 19 as Bath Kindness Day.

“It’s just a reminder to everyone that kindness is everywhere, and it’s abundantly there that day. Hopefully, it trails on for the rest of the year,” said City Council Chair Mari Eosco. Reading a proclamation, she said, is one of the easiest decisions the council makes. “I’m going to say with confidence that we unanimously support kindness.”

She added the city is going to set up a stand of its own, as well.

Kindness Day is running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Bath, mainly on Front and Centre streets. For more information, visit Kindness Day Bath’s Facebook page at facebook.com/kindnessdaybath.