BETHEL — The 60th annual MollyOckett Day Festival on Saturday saw locals and visitors enjoying food, the parade, the history and the community.

The day began with the Classic Road Races — a 5-mile loop down Vernon Street onto Paradise Road, including the infamous “Paradise Hill,” a favorite challenge for local runners, according to the race organizers. Also included was a 1-mile loop down Main Street and back up Mason Street.

The Bethel Common was lined with vendors selling festive food options such as stuffed baked potatoes, lobster rolls from the Bethel Rotary Club, corn dogs, apple pie and fried dough from the Greenwood Fire Department.

Craft and community vendors showcased their talents, hard work and passion with products and concepts.

Sarah Lane, local business owner and artist, painted henna tattoos at her booth. Henna is a dye made from the henna tree, and is most commonly used in Africa and the Middle East.

The art of applying henna to the hands and feet is known as Mehndi, and is traditionally used for celebrations and rites of passage, according to The Huffington Post.


Lane said she recently discovered through a genetic test that she has some Middle Eastern heritage, and henna is one of the ways she can explore the culture.

Team Hailey Hugs, the nonprofit on a mission to get all of Maine to “Go Gold” for Childhood Cancer Awareness in September, had a booth set up in front of the Bethel Fire Station.

The girl behind it all, Hailey Steward, could be seen hula-hooping and wandering around the common while her brother, Jared, followed her closely with her wheelchair.

Hailey is currently battling leukemia, and through a treatment of cannabis and essential oils, has dropped the amount of cancer cells in her bone marrow from 60 percent to 15 percent in 10 weeks.

This year’s parade theme was Communities with Heart and featured area fire departments and local businesses, as well as a convoy of all-terrain vehicles and classic cars.

According to the festival’s website, MollyOckett of the Pequawket Native American tribe lived among and befriended the early settlers of western Maine. She became the subject of legend to succeeding generations. Born between 1730 and 1740, she has been called “the great Indian doctress.”


Her most famous patient was the infant Hannibal Hamlin of Paris Hill. When she arriving at the Hamlin home on a stormy night in 1809 after being refused shelter at Snow Falls and cursing the place, according to legend, MollyOckett found young Hannibal near death. Her prescription of warm cow’s milk saved his life and he went on to become governor of Maine and Abraham Lincoln’s vice president.

Mollyockett Day Classic Road Race Winners

Men’s Overall, 5 mile: Logan Wilson: 28:48

Women’s Overall, 5 mile: Marin Provencher: 36:17 

Men’s Overall, 1 mile: Thomas Klein: 6:38

Women’s Overall, 1 mile: Elizabeth Kolb: 6:35

MollyOckett essay challenge winner James Newkirk rides in the 60th annual MollyOckett Day Parade on Saturday in Bethel. Also winning the essay challenge was Emily Hanscom, who is not riding in the car.

The winners of the women’s age 30-39 category for the MollyOckett Day Road Race are, from left, Cassie Mason, third place, with her child; Diana Drown, first place, with her children; and Andrea LaBonte, second place.

Logan Wilson of Boston, Massachusetts, left, and Marin Provencher of Cumberland were the overall winners of the 5-mile road race on Saturday at the 60th annual MollyOckett Day in Bethel.

Sarah Lane paints a henna tattoo on Peyton Buksa, 7, at the 60th annual MollyOckett Day on Saturday in Bethel.

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