BETHEL — The Bethel Historical Society will host its annual community picnic and concert at 11:30 a.m. July 4 on the side lawn of the Dr. Moses Mason House on Broad Street.

Executive Director Randall H. Bennett said the community picnic and concert has been done for “a long, long time.”

“The Bethel Historical Society has been running the event for years, but it’s been celebrated annually since the era of Dr. Mason in the 1850s,” Bennett said. “The picnic is a good chance for residents to take a break from the family festivities and come celebrate the Fourth.”

Bennett said it was traditional for a guest speaker to stand on a barrel or a box during the celebration and “read a speech, or oration as they called it back then,” that connected with the Fourth of July.

For the upcoming community picnic and concert, Bennett said Matt Ruby, the Head of School for Gould Academy, will give a short talk about the significance of the Fourth of July.

Following Ruby’s speech, the Portland Brass Quintet will perform a free two-hour concert of traditional and contemporary brass band music.


“The Portland Brass Quintet has been performing for at least 20 years,” Bennett said, “and they always do a fantastic job. It’s a real treat when you’re able to attend a free concert from some of the finest brass players in the Northeast.”

Prior to Ruby’s speech and the Portland Brass Quintet concert, the Bethel Legion will perform the “presentation of colors,” which Bennett said is when Legion members carry the U.S flag, along with the Maine state flag, onto the field and present them to the audience.

Bennett said that if it rains, the Historical Society has a backup venue at the Middle Intervale Meetinghouse on Intervale Road.

“We have our fingers crossed for good weather,” Bennett said. “In the past, we’ve had upwards of 600 people show up for the concert and the picnic.”

For more information, call the Bethel Historical Society at 824-2908.

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