Downtown Wiscasset was in a festive mood Saturday crowded with Early Bird shoppers looking for bargains and over 30 volunteers decorating Main Street for the holidays. The morning got off to a foggy start but by 10:30 the sun was shining brightly with the temperature rising to a balmy 54 degrees under a blue sky.
Although it didn’t feel like Christmas everyone was in a holiday mood. Wiscasset Newspaper arrived at Treats on the corner of Main and Middle streets at 8:30 just in time for the morning rush hour. Manager Cassie Reed had a line of customers waiting to buy fresh-baked scones, breakfast sandwiches and coffee. Francie Siegfried, the owner of BIRCH, was among the early bird customers. BIRCH, next door to Treats, sells home furnishings and gift items.
“This is all pretty new for me,” said Siegfried, who moved to Wiscasset from Virginia; she bought BIRCH six months ago. Siegfried was opening her store at 10, the usual time and offering 20% off holiday items and gift cards and 10% off rugs, pillows, throws, linens and furniture until closing time at 5.
Things really began to hum downtown around 9:30 when members of the Committee on the Appearance of the Town, Garden Club of Wiscasset and Friends of Wiscasset Village began showing up with strands of forest green garland, holiday wreaths and bright red bows. That’s when Julia Fay of Cumberland and her niece Jill Hoyle of Bath showed up to wait in line on the sidewalk for In the Clover to open. Like other shoppers they came for the Early Bird savings. “We do this every year; for us it’s sort of a tradition,” confided Fay who was planning to do some Christmas shopping and maybe buy one or two things for herself. In the Clover was offering 30% savings all day on nearly all its merchandise that includes clothing, jewelry and body care products.
Across Main Street shoppers at Rock Paper Scissors could save 20% on most items. Owner Erica Soule said she was looking forward to a busy day. The shop was well stocked with colorful, one of a kind gift items and brimming with shoppers keeping both Soule and clerk Betsy Spekke busy behind the register.
Outside, Wiscasset Newspaper caught up with Jen Barbeau Herrick of Wiscasset. Herrick, who works for L.L. Bean, confessed she wasn’t an early riser. “I love the sale and that most of the businesses open a little later in the morning. I try to shop locally whenever I can.” Herrick had done some shopping at Old & Everlasting on Water Street and was planning stops at BIRCH, In the Clover and Moulinette. “We really have a nice little downtown filled with many wonderful places to shop,” she added.
Ari Edgar and Jillian Maragoudakis from Newcastle said they saw the sale advertised in the newspaper. “We both love In the Clover and plan to do some holiday shopping there,” said Edgar. Both said they weren’t early risers, at least not on the weekend. “We’re really glad the sale is running all day long,” added Maragoudakis.
Refreshments including coffee, home-baked cinnamon buns and mulled cider were offered by members of Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce. Manning the table were Shelia Sawyer and Pat Cloutier, WACC executive manager.
The holiday decorating was carried out under the watchful eye of Selectman Terry Heller. She was there as chairman of the Committee on the Appearance of the Town. “It’s just wonderful to have so many people downtown and the weather today is absolutely wonderful,” she said, stopping to call across the street to Peter Wells for another wreath. “We’ve got members here from the Garden Club and the Friends of Wiscasset Village who are helping with the decorating. I think people are really enjoying themselves.”
The town’s next big holiday event is Wiscasset Marketfest from Friday, Dec. 3 through Sunday Dec. 5. To learn more visit www.wiscassetholidaymarketfest.com