BETHEL – In addition to fireworks on the Fourth of July, Bethel will kick off Independence Day celebrations with music, history and a community picnic.

From noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, July 4, the Portland Brass Quintet will perform at the Bethel Historical Society lawn during the society’s 11th annual Community Picnic on the grounds of the Dr. Moses Mason House.

Those attending should bring a picnic lunch and lawn chairs for the two-hour concert. There is no admission charge.

Should the day be rainy, the concert will be held at the historic Middle Intervale Meetinghouse on the Intervale Road.

According to the Historical Society, the event follows traditions set by Mason who opened his grove in the 1850s and 1860s to the public each Fourth of July to enjoy picnicking while listening to patriotic orations and rousing music.

Following the concert, a new exhibit entitled “Middle Ground” will be officially opened on the second floor of the society’s Robinson House at 10 Broad St. across from the common. The interactive exhibit is about exploring the need for wood and woods in Maine.

Period rooms in the Mason House will also be open for viewing.

Then, at 6 p.m. on the town common, the Bethel Fireworks Committee’s Annual Music and Fireworks Festival begins, featuring the Paul Broadnax Quintet.

The quintet, which is comprised of jazz musicians, will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gazebo on the common and from 8 to 9 p.m. behind the Bethel Inn & Country Club outside the tavern.

It will be capped off with what’s billed as a Giant Fourth of July Fireworks Display at dusk at the Bethel Inn & Country Club on the 18th fairway.

For more information about the Historical Society and its events, call 824-2908 or visit For more information about the fireworks and music festival, call the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce at 824-2282.

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