SKOWHEGAN — The nonprofit Main Street Skowhegan will host the first-ever Skowhegan Moose Festival in June in conjunction with the annual Maine Moose Permit Lottery. Events are scheduled over three days at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds.

Main Street Skowhegan has been awarded a $9,500 tourism enterprise grant from the Maine Office of Tourism to promote the 2018 Maine Moose Permit Lottery and the festival in its inaugural year.

The lottery will take place Saturday, June 9, and festival events will run from Friday, June 8, through Sunday, June 10, all at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds – a tribute to the Skowhegan State Fair, which will mark its 200th anniversary later, and a kickoff for the summer tourism season, said Main Street Skowhegan Executive Director Kristina Cannon.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to showcase Skowhegan, which has a long heritage of hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation,” Cannon said. “We expect to draw thousands of visitors from all over the Northeast who will stay in local lodging, eat in local restaurants, and shop in local stores during the weekend-long festival.”

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife administers the Maine Moose Permit Lottery every year, a drawing to select winners of Maine moose hunting permits. To hunt moose in Maine, hunters must have one of the special permits, which are limited in order to promote a healthy moose population in the state, Cannon said.

In 2017, 2,080 hunters came away with permits.

To enhance the lottery experience, Main Street Skowhegan is coordinating the three-day festival, geared toward hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. The festival will include exhibits, demonstrations, instruction, competitions, children’s activities, local food, live music and more.

“Other three-day festivals have been planned around the moose lottery, including at Cabela’s, in Scarborough; at Kittery Trading Post, in Kittery; and in the towns of Bethel, Greenville and Rangeley; and there may be others as well,” Cannon said.

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