Miss Mollyockett 1960 looks back 50 years
Fifty years ago, Grace Haines rode up Bethel's Main Street in a two-wheel, horse-drawn carriage.
She was the very first Miss Mollyockett, on the first Mollyockett Day.
Now Grace Haines-Kloock, she has lived most of her life in Oregon, where she works as an office manager.
But she still looks back fondly on the 1960 event that has become a staple of summer in Bethel.
Background on the festival
On the weekend of July 17, Mollyockett Day will mark its golden anniversary by becoming a two-day festival, Mollyockett Days.
Although 1960 was the first Mollyockett Day, it was not the first time such a festival was held in mid-July.
The 1960 event was actually the 10th Bethel Bazaar, but the first time that it was called “Mollyockett Day,” according to Danna Nickerson of the Bethel Historical Society.
“Because the bazaar was sponsored by the Bethel Health and Service Council, it was decided that it would be appropriate to name it in honor of Molly Ockett due to her reputation as an Indian ‘doctress,’ said Nickerson. “As far as I know, there was no Miss ‘Anything’ presiding over the bazaar festivities until it became Mollyockett Day.”
When the organizers decided to include a Miss Mollyockett in the celebration, Grace Haines was living on a small farm on Route 2, just west of Bethel.
“I remember someone showed up and asked me if I wanted to do it,” she said. "I was 13, but I was fairly mature-looking for my age.”
To look the part of an Indian princess, Grace dyed her brown hair black.
“I believe someone had a dress that I wore. And someone gave me a bracelet of semi-precious Maine gemstones, in a gold setting. I think it came from Perham’s,” she said. “I got to keep it. I wish I still had it.”
She recalls that the horse carriage came from a barn on Chapman Street.
Riding in it up Main Street, she said, “It seemed like there were a lot of people. The street was very well-lined, I think because it was a new event.”
On arriving at the common, “there was a short introduction ceremony,” Grace said. The scene, she said, resembled a carnival or small-town fair. “They had balloons, and booths,” she said.
With the passage of time, some of the details of the day have faded from memory. But her overall impression remains.
“It was fun,” she said.