Mollyockett grows to two days
Posted June 24-Competitive Nordic walking, a diaper derby, a gem-and-jewelry benefit auction and a “People’s Choice” award for parade floats.
Those are a few of the new additions to this year’s expanded Mollyockett Day— now Mollyockett Days— scheduled for July 17-18.
It’s the 50th anniversary of the festival named after the legendary Indian princess, prompting the change to an all-weekend event.
The expansion also means significant scheduling changes for several existing events, particularly the parade and the road races.
The parade will take place Saturday, as usual, but this year it will start an hour earlier— 10 a.m.
The road races will move to Sunday morning, eliminating the time crunch for people involved in both the race and the parade.
The adult road race (which also includes walkers) will add Nordic walking this year, an activity that is becoming steadily more popular.
At the other end of the age spectrum, infants and toddlers will “compete” in a Diaper Derby on the common Sunday morning, after the road races.
The plan for the derby is still a work in progress, according to Robin Zinchuk, executive director of the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce, the festival’s sponsor.
“We had a suggestion from Charlie Newell to call it a ‘Diaper Dash’ [a play on ‘diaper rash,’ for those not currently raising infants],” she said.
The length of the race course will vary according to age, likely ranging from a short crawl from the start to mom, to a possible lap around the common for ages 2-3.
Saturday’s parade — expected to be larger than usual because of the anniversary— will also en-courage spectator participation through voting for a “People’s Choice” float.
In past years, a panel of judges simply awarded first-through-third places.
Spectators wishing to vote may go to the BACC booth on the common (on the Broad Street side) immediately after the parade to pick up a ballot.
On Saturday afternoon, a new gem and jewelry auction will raise funds to benefit five local non-profit organizations (Mahoosuc Kids Assn., Project Opportunity scholarships, Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice, Mahoosuc Community Band and Bethel Garden Club).
Entertainment this year will again include fiddling, but instead of a contest, musicians will par-ticipate in a more casual Fiddlers’ Jamboree.
In addition, a featured fiddlers’ act will be the Kid Fiddlers from Las Vegas, with a mom and her five children.
There will be other musical performances as well, including local talent.
Also offered will be several activities aimed at keeping Mollyockett-going children entertained, Zinchuk said.
Examples include a potato sack race, carnival games (such as a ring toss, fishing hole and bean bag toss) and a slack line for practicing balance.
In addition, there will be activities and competitions both days at the Skateboard Park at Davis Park.
Not happening this year is the Duck Race in the Sunday River.
Instead, the Four Seasons of Fun Raffle will reward winners with four prize packages, each outfit-ting two people: mountain bikes; kayaks; Nordic skis; and camping gear.
For more on the weekend’s events and schedule, go to www.mollyockettdays.com.