BETHEL — MollyOckett Day, Bethel’s biggest and most beloved event of the year with all the elements of a classic summer festival, is set for Saturday, July 18.

The town common will be bustling with vendors, including artists, crafters, local nonprofits and food vendors from from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vendor booths will also line Main Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Entertainment will include:

11:15 a.m.: North American Wildlife Encounter live animal show

1 p.m.: ARTirondack chair auction

1 p.m.: Frog-jumping contest

2 to 4 p.m.: Live music with Jim McLaughlin

5 p.m.: Barry Dana will give a talk on food sovereignty at The Bethel Inn Resort’s Gibson Room

Evening: music from local rock band Crime Scene will lead into the fireworks

9 p.m.: Fireworks.

The new Kids’ Fun Zone at the Bethel Historical Society will feature activities with staff from UMaine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond.

Many downtown businesses are also planning special activities, including a lobster bake at Bethel Bait Tackle & More, chainsaw carving at The Philbrook Place, art and history exhibits at the Bethel Historical Society, a book sale at the library, open houses at Brooks Bros. hardware store and Maine Line Products, and more.

The traditional road races have been moved from Sunday to Saturday morning before the parade. The Bethel Outing Club is organizing the races, which consist of a kids’ one-mile run, a five-mile run, two-mile walk for ages 14 and older, and a diaper dash for ages 3 and younger.

A parade with the theme of “Celebrating Local Talent” will follow the road races. All local clubs, businesses, organizations or individuals are welcome to enter the parade at no cost. Winners of the annual MollyOckett Essay Challenge , Ashley Savage and Austin Bear, both Telstar High School students, will ride in the lead car.

MollyOckett Day has served as a homecoming event for Bethel for more than 50 years. It is named for a Native American woman who lived in various towns across western Maine in the 1700’s and early 1800’s. Many legends surround her, including that she saved the life of infant Hannibal Hamlin, who went on to become Abraham Lincoln’s first vice president.


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