BAR HARBOR — Everyone is familiar with the old adage: “The early bird gets the worm.”
This time of year, worms are heading deep underground to hibernate. But that won’t stop the early birds from flocking to Bar Harbor to shop on Saturday, Nov. 9. It’s the day of the Early Bird Pajama Sale and Bed Races, an annual event organized by the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.
Shopping begins bright and early at 6 a.m., chamber Executive Director Alf Anderson said.
“Stores will offer discounts, and in some cases deeper discounts for customers in pajamas,” he said. “It’s a great, local, fun event. People wear their wackiest pajamas.”
In addition to the discounts, some stores, like Paradis TrueValue Hardware, offer shoppers free coffee and donuts. Other stores, like Sherman’s Books & Stationary, are offering a door prizes and raffles. Restaurants will be open serving breakfast. Chris Popper will broadcast live from the event on WDEA Radio.
Even Acadia National Park Rangers will be on hand selling $30 annual park passes from the Village Green Information Center, half of the usual price.
Patrick’s By the Sea, a Main Street gift shop specializing in clothing, food, jewelry and other art, has been participating in the event for many years.
“We didn’t do it one year, and we got our hands slapped [by customers] the next year,” joked store manager Chad Kessel. “We’ll never do that again.”
Now the store is among the most enthusiastic participants, opening an hour earlier than other stores to serve the very early birds.
“We love it,” Kessel said. With storewide sales, the event is not about making money, she said. “It’s just about the community.”
As well as getting some great bargains, shoppers are encouraged to give back to the community as well. Patrick’s is one of the stores accepting donations that morning for the Bar Harbor Food Pantry and the local SPCA.
All morning at the Chamber of Commerce office, shoppers can present a receipt from any participating business, and enter a raffle to win a $500 travel voucher for a ride from Bay Ferries, good for the 2020 season.
After the shopping comes the annual Bed Races. Five-person teams sign up to run a Cottage Street course, racing the clock while pushing decorated beds down the street. Four team members push the wheeled bed down the street, while one team member rides on the bed.
The event stars with a bed parade down Main and Cottage Street at 10 a.m., followed by the race itself. Decorations are as elaborate as they can be, without creating extra wind resistance. Runners are costumed. Prizes go out to the fastest, and the best decorated beds.
“Make sure you get there early to get a good spot on Cottage Street,” Anderson advised. As for the race, “it gets pretty competitive,” he said.
For a long time, R.M. Flagg Restaurant Equipment in Bangor was the team to beat. However, Anderson said that the five-time champions have announced they will not be entering the race this year.
As for last year’s winning team, Bar Harbor Inn, Anderson said, “We expect them to be there to defend their title.”
Those who want to enter a team into the bed race are welcome to register through the Chamber of Commerce, but time is running out. The deadline for teams to register for this year’s race is Friday, Nov. 8.
Sponsors for this year’s Early Bird Pajama Sale are Bar Harbor Inn, Acadia Shops, Bar Harbor Merchants Association, Bay Ferries Limited and the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.