BETHEL — In six months, thousands of people will gather downtown to see if they are one of the lucky recipients of a moose-hunting permit for 2015.

The Bethel Chamber of Commerce and the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Bryant Pond will host the Bethel Maine Moose Festival from June 12 to 14.

The annual Maine Moose Permit Lottery will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 13, in Bethel.

Jessie Perkins, events and marketing director for the chamber, said the University of Maine 4-H Camp reached out to the chamber a couple of years ago about submitting a proposal for Bethel to be considered for the Maine Moose Lottery.

“We saw the success that Rangeley had with the lottery the year they held it, and we thought, ‘We need to try and get in on this,’” Perkins said. “The first year we applied, we weren’t selected. However, a couple of years later, the people who organize the lottery called us and asked if we wanted to host it.”

Perkins said, “Of course, we told them, ‘Heck yes,’ and agreed to figure all the details out afterward. We’re always looking for ways to bring people here in the summertime, and this is a great opportunity.”

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A committee consisting of local business owners, chamber members and 4-H camp employees have spent the past six months hashing out those details, Perkins said.

“Each of us is taking lead on different parts of this event,” Perkins said. “So far, it’s worked out really well. We have a really strong schedule that will only get stronger as we get closer to the festival.”

The Bethel Chamber of Commerce also received a $10,000 grant from the Maine Office of Tourism to help promote the event.

Perkins said the Maine Moose Lottery typically attracts several thousand people. The Bethel Chamber of Commerce and the University of Maine 4-H Camp are expecting “around 5,000 people, depending on the weather.”

The festival will take place over three days, Perkins said, and is being promoted as a “festival for all things outdoors-y and wildlife related.”

One of the major events taking place at the festival is a moose-calling contest.

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“Basically, people will attempt to do their best moose calls and will be judged on how accurately they do a bull moose call, a cow moose call and on their presentation and showmanship,” Perkins said. “There’s also going to be a kids’ contest, which should be adorable.”

The festival will kick off Friday, June 12, with the final qualifying round for the moose-calling contest.

The second day of the festival begins at 9 a.m. June 13, with a brief speech by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Chandler Woodcock.

From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., vendors, exhibits and demonstrations will be set up on the Bethel common. Perkins said people interested in being vendors for the festival are still welcome to sign up.

The moose-calling contest is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. June 13 at the on the town common.

Perkins said anybody who loves the outdoors will find something to enjoy at the festival.

For more information, contact the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce at [email protected], call 824-2282, or visit www.bethelmainemoosefest.com and www.facebook.com/BethelMaineMooseFest.

[email protected]


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