BETHEL — A day of fun, support and gold is planned for Saturday on the Bethel Common, where the local nonprofit Team Hailey Hugs, created by the Steward family in honor of 10-year-old Hailey Steward, will host its first “Maine Goes Gold” kickoff event.

The free-to-attend festival will begin at 8 a.m with a welcoming ceremony, followed by a parade at 9 a.m. The parade will feature local nonprofits and businesses, all rallying to support those fighting childhood cancer.

At 10 a.m., the statewide proclamation will be presented. Gov. Paul LePage is unable to attend, but state legislators Frances Head and Lisa Keim will be there.

An auction will be held at 1 p.m, featuring products donated from businesses individuals. Included are gift certificates to local restaurants, Sunday River lift tickets, Santa’s Village passes, a diamond ring valued at $6,200 and a kayak.

Live entertainment is scheduled throughout the day, with musical performances by Nashville recording artist Meghan Clark and local artists Maegan Crowley, Jordan Kaulback and the Shadagee Ramblers.

Dancers from the local dance studio Toe Tappin’ Jazz will perform.

There will also be face-painting, yoga, “touch-a-truck” and of course, lots of food. 

At dusk, fire performers will entertain with flames, and fireworks will follow.

Brian Breton, of Maine Children for Cannabis Therapy and the production manager at Harry Brown’s farm in Starks, provides Hailey’s cannabis medicine, and was the main organizer of the event.

“We put this whole thing together in about a month,” Breton said.

But Team Hailey Hugs’ mission began before that, with Hailey Steward, who is battling leukemia for the third time, asking all Maine towns to “Go Gold” to support childhood cancer awareness.

So far, over 50 towns have proclaimed the month of September “Childhood Cancer Awareness Month” and will decorate their streets and businesses with gold ribbons and host events that raise awareness.

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