FARMINGTON — The red carpet was rolled out Wednesday as a bus tour from Arkansas pulled into the downtown for lunch and shopping.

Greeters Emily Hartung and Shelby Childs from the Farmington Downtown Association welcomed the Francis Custom Tour bus as it pulled in at about 1 p.m.

Shortly before that they waved goodbye to an unexpected Trafalgar tour bus that had been to Acadia and was on its way to North Conway, N.H., Hartung said.

The Francis Custom Tour bus with 45 passengers, mostly from Arkansas and Texas, was on a 13-day tour. It had been to New Hampshire, Bar Harbor and was traveling back through Vermont to the Baseball Hall of Fame in  Cooperstown, N.Y. From there it was headed back to Arkansas, tour guide Susan Brackett said.

Attorney Paul Mills ran down the street with a bag of goodies from a downtown merchant and hopped onto the bus to welcome the tour and give the gift intended to be raffled off to one lucky visitor.

As bus driver Phillip Abernathy helped the visitors step off the bus, Hartung, from Calico Patch, and Childs, from the Greater Franklin Development Corp., welcomed guests, handed out maps of the downtown shops and restaurants and answered questions.

The tour has logged about 2,500 miles and expects to log 4,500 when they reach Arkansas, Abernathy said.

“You all have accents,” he told the greeters in his smooth, southern voice.

The bus tours are the result of efforts made in 2011, Childs said later as she returned the red carpet to Ron Gelinas at Mainestone Jewelry. Bus tour operators were invited to Franklin County in 2011 and 2012 to be “wined and dined” and given a tour of the county.

The tours are planned a year in advance, she said. There were a couple weeks this summer that one or two buses a day were stopping in downtown Farmington.

Many tour operators call Laurie Danforth at the Homestead Bakery ahead to let the town know when they’ll be stopping and downtown merchants work together to welcome them.

Different merchants are asked to provide a goody bag. Childs has a list of greeters to call on to meet the bus, and Gelinas puts cones out early in the morning to reserve parking. Maps are ready and on some days Robert Underwood gives a bagpipe welcome.

Many towns are developing profiles and reasons for the bus tours to stop.

“It’s very competitive,” Gelinas said. “It’s great for the merchants.”

Although the visitors may not make purchases the day they are here, Gelinas said he often gets a call sometimes a week later from someone who hasn’t forgotten the gem they saw in his shop.

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