BETHEL — Changes are coming to the 63rd annual Molly Ockett Day, starting with the name.

It’s part of the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce’s effort to rebrand the celebration named for the Native American woman of the Abenaki nation who lived in western Maine from the early 1700s to 1816. She died in 1816 and is buried in Andover

Bethel’s celebration the third weekend in July will now be known as Summerfest. The theme will center around Maine’s bicentennial this year.

This year also marks 200 years since the discovery of tourmaline in Maine, which will be highlighted by the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum.

At the Feb. 3 selectmen meeting, Robin Zinchuk, chamber outreach and development director, said the organization will collaborate with the museum on events for Friday, July 17, leading into Summerfest. The chamber has reached out to local businesses and nonprofits about their interest in participating, she said.

The chamber plans to focus on local food, craft vendors, activities for children, and family and class reunions.

“Molly Ockett Day has always been an informal community homecoming, and we want to keep that spirit alive as we plan for the future of Bethel’s big summer event,” Jessie Perkins, chamber executive director, said.

Also at their meeting this month, selectmen unanimously approved reimbursing resident Mark Bennett $500 after his antique lamp post on Mechanic Street was damaged by a town sidewalk plow in December.

Bennett said the lamp is more than 100 years old and cannot be replaced.

Selectman Pete Southam said online prices are in line with Bennett’s request for $500.

Selectmen unanimously approved Keel J. Hood CPA of Fairfield as town auditor. It was one of two companies that submitted proposals.


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