Bar Harbor 4th of July weekend as busy as ever

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 11:59 PM EDT
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BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - The Fourth of July weekend in Bar Harbor was as busy as ever this year.

A far cry from a year ago at this time, when the holiday fell in the middle of a global pandemic, and many businesses had more uncertainty than they did customers. Last year, businesses in Bar Harbor- and all over Maine- were worrying about capacity limits and mask mandates.

Those worries now seem to be a thing of the past.

“One hundred percent better,” said Little Village Gifts co-owner Shawn Hubbard. “It’s like a breath of fresh air this year. People are so happy to be here and so happy to be out of their houses. It’s a really positive vibe in town. It’s maybe a little busier than we expected.”

Busier than expected, but judging by how the season has been so far, maybe not a surprise according to Bar Harbor Chamber Executive Director Alf Anderson.

“The businesses here in Bar Harbor have seen more in the spring and early summer months than any year we’ve seen in the past, and that’s a direct result of COVID,” Anderson said. “People are really ready to get out. Last year people couldn’t travel, so this year they’re really, really ready to get out and do some things and visit in a safe outdoor setting like we have here in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.”

“Somebody used the term ‘Revenge Tourism,’” added Hubbard, with a laugh.

It’s not as if this tourist season isn’t without its challenges. Bar Harbor is still dealing with a crippling labor shortage, forcing many businesses to close at least one day a week. Still a year ago at this time, some of those same businesses weren’t sure if they would even survive.

“I kind of get a little choked up because it’s been a long ride,” said Heather Davis, Co-owner of Geddy’s. “Everybody out there that works so hard and puts their heart into what they do really needs to be applauded.”

COVID didn’t just rain on the parade last year. It cancelled it. So folks in Bar Harbor say a little rain on the parade this year was a small price to pay for getting back to normal.

“It wasn’t quite as long as usual,” Anderson said. “And we just barely got it in between the storms, but it was really heartwarming to see the patriotism on display during our parade.”

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