BETHEL — The Bethel Chamber of Commerce will hold its 18th annual Harvestfest on Saturday, Sept. 19, on the town common.

Events include a chowdah cookoff and apple pie contest, marketing and events manager Jessie Perkins said.

The newest event is beer-tasting with Baxter Brewing Co.

“People can buy their tickets for $10 ahead of time, or buy them at the event,” Perkins said. “Their ticket gets them six 6-ounce glasses of beer. It’s something new that we’re trying, and we’re expecting it to be quite popular for people around here.”

Although there are several festivals and fairs in Bethel throughout the year, Perkins said Harvestfest differs from them by including chowder and apple pie contests.

“People love the chowder,” Perkins said with a laugh. “The competition is very, very serious. A lot of people put their best chowders out there. It’s fun to see how they stack up against each other every year. We’re always getting new winners and new recipes.”

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The apple pie contest is also “hotly contested,” Perkins said.

“For awhile, the same gentleman was winning every single year in the amateur category, and last year, a woman who was new to town beat him in the nontraditional amateur category,” Perkins said. “This year, she’ll be gunning for him. It’s always a fun competition to watch; they line up all the pies on the table, and they all look amazing.”

Both contests begin at noon. Chowder samples are $10 for 10 samples plus a drink, or $2 for an individual sample.

Other events are:

* 8 a.m.: Cookie walk to benefit the West Bethel Union church.

* 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Arts, crafts, music, Farmers’ Market on the Town Common, cider pressing at the Bethel Historical Society and chainsaw-carving with Steve Stone on the lawn next to the Bethel Historical Society.

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* 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Rug-hooking demonstration at the Bethel Historical Society where residents can try rug-hooking techniques and view rugs.

* 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Book signing by Jim Witherell for his books, “Ed Muskie: Made in Maine, 1914-1960,” and “L.L. Bean: The Man and His Company: The Complete Story,” at Bethel Historical Society.

* 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Kids’ activities at the Hancock Lumber tent.

* 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Loaded baked potatoes off the grill for sale at the Bethel Chamber of Commerce booth next to the gazebo.

* 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Points North Fiddlers performing at the gazebo.

* 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m.: Jewel Clerk performing at the gazebo.

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* 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Free horse-drawn wagon rides, leaving from the corner next to the Chapman Inn.

* 1 to 3 p.m.: The Shadagee Ramblers performing at the gazebo.

* 1:30 p.m.: Illustrated talk with Judith Burger-Gossart of Salsbury Cove, author of “Sadie’s Winter Dream: Fishermen’s Wives and Maine Sea Coast Mission Hooked Rugs, 1923-1938.”

* 2:30 p.m.: The winners of the the Chowdah Cookoff and Apple Pie Contest announced.

Perkins said Harvestfest grew out of an effort by the Bethel Chamber of Commerce to get people to visit the area after summer vacation season and before the fall foliage peaks.

“It’s worked out really well so far,” Perkins said. “We don’t really have a down season in Bethel. We’ve filled in all the gaps.”

For more information, call the Bethel Chamber of Commerce at 207-824-2282, or visit bethelharvestfest.com.

[email protected]


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