Logo Courtesy of Kate Carroll

BETHEL — The Festival of Hope was an idea created during a dark time. Kate Carroll, her daughter, and a group of small friends were in disarray with the job and benefit loses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Carroll, a survivor of breast cancer, said to everyone, “This too will pass, and we will dance down Main Street, you wait and see.

“Well,” she laughs now, “We’re dancing up Main Street.” She was right. On August 14, not only is Carroll dancing up Main Street with her daughter and friends, there is going to be an event here in Bethel called the Festival of Hope.

“All my hope for this festival is to bring happiness back. We’ve all had a tough long siege, and it’s time for us to get out, smile at each other, and have a happy day,” Carroll says.

Setting the vibe will be DJ Peter G. who will play upbeat music such as, “Come Together” by The Beatles, or song requests, as long as they do not have any violent language in them. There’s also going to be a live band called, “Perry.” They’ll be playing everything from classic rock to oldies to country.

There will be karaoke for everyone to pick out fun music to sing, too. In addition to the music, Rev. Dr. Tim LeConey of West Parish Congregational United Church of Christ has organized for all the churches in the nearby areas to ring their bells at the same time.

There will be plenty of food for everyone. With ice cream from Sugar Shack, to Mt. Abram’s hamburgers, hot-dogs, and chicken on a stick, to five gallons of chili from The Cross Roads Diner, and more, there will be plenty of food, according to Carroll.


“I need help serving this food, and anybody who wants to donate food, I need volunteers to do that and maybe help with the road signs.” says Carroll. “The more people I have, the less hours I’ll need to assign each person. [Also] any ideas for fair food and vendors.”

It is free to attend, it is free to have a vendor space or food space.

“The idea is to bring things back … let’s get together and do this!” says Carroll.

Carroll, who has fought breast cancer and beaten it, never takes any day for granted. After what everyone went through in 2020, this festival is not only about hope, but about gratitude.
“I wanna see the seniors laugh like children, and the children lighten our day and our mood,” Carroll says.

At the parade, everyone can celebrate any holiday they missed, meaning kids can dress up in Halloween costumers, or dress up as their favorite characters. Carroll is also going to be celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary with her husband, as it happened during the pandemic. Also, not to be forgotten, there will be a duck at the parade.

The Festival of Hope is a time to celebrate everything and anything that makes every one of us happy, she says, as long as it doesn’t involve foul language, violence, or politics.

“So come and leave with a smile, and all the work will be worth it,” says Carroll.

Contact Ron at RonIves43230@gmail.com – to help with food, and contact Kate at carrollkate809@gmail.com to help with the parade – Submit by August 7.

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