COLEBROOK - After kicking off Friday with a well-attended parade and street fair and continuing Saturday with a variety of events, the 23rd annual North Country Moose Festival winds down today as organizers begin planning for an even larger and better event in 2015.
Held each year on the final weekend before Labor Day, the Moose Festival "has become a Great North Woods tradition," said Britni White of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the festival.
The 2014 festival began Friday with activities throughout Colebrook. Among them was a street fair that was highlighted by a Moose Cruise, a motor vehicle parade around the downtown.
Riding in the lead vehicle - an orange 1957 Chevrolet Belair operated by Anthony Young of Pittsburg that was towing a similarly orange 1957 Whitehouse boat - was the festival's mascot, Max the Moose, who was joined by parade grand marshal Becky Merrow.
"I'm honored," said Merrow, who is Colebrook's town manager. "I'm doing my best to fit in," she said, referring to her hat with moose antlers.
Wayne Frizzell, the Chamber of Commerce president, said the parade capped a successful first day of the festival. "We've had great attendance, in line or even better than last year," he said.
For 2014, more vendors were on Main Street, which Frizzell said has helped boost attendance. He said there were more vendors than could be accommodated, so the chamber had to put some on a waiting list.
Frizzell said there's been talking of expanding the Moose Festival into a full week, and he acknowledged that today's fare - although sure to please many - was "still a work in progress."
The Moose Festival wraps up today with the annual North American Martyrs Church breakfast from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at the St. Albert Hall in West Stewartstown; a lecture on the Indian Stream Republic at the Tillotson Center in Colebrook from 3 to 4 p.m.; and a concert by the Lonely Heartstring Band at 7 p.m., also at the Tillotson Center.
Saturday's activities were in Canaan and Pittsburg and included a country fair in Canaan featuring a maple syrup tasting and contest, a moose stew cook-off and a moose calling contest, while events in Pittsburg included an open house at the Indian Stream Farm and tours of the one-room Indian Stream School House.