An informal coalition of store owners in Damariscotta and Newcastle are planning to stay open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays, starting Thursday, June 21, for “Downtown After Dinner.” Many downtown businesses have new owners with new energy and ideas, and so the coalition decided to commit to evening hours one night a week as a start.

“My customers did not understand why our villages close at 6 p.m. except for the restaurants,” says new owner of Aboca Beads, Judy Dumont.

“We have restaurants full of visitors, let’s offer them something to do after dinner,” said Martha Kalina, owner of Gifts at 136, “and while it is only one night a week, it’s a start.” Trish Harriman, owner of Attic Heirlooms, adds, “We are committed to this experiment at least through August, for at least two years.”

Fernald’s Country Store will keep the kitchen open until 8 p.m. and display the embroidery work of Emilee Harper, who will be present to show her work and answer questions. Aboca Beads will have a demonstration of earring making. Gifts at 136 will offer chocolate sampling from Safe Harbor Confections.

Additional events planned for Thursday nights include buskers from Lincoln Academy, as well as live music at Reel to Reel.