Over the years, Mainers have flocked to the annual moose-permit lottery, where they’d sit on folding chairs, listen to the monotonous recitation of names, and hope that theirs would be among the lucky winners.
In time, towns and civic organizations began vying for the privilege of hosting the event. And as each new town welcomed the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife traveling road show, organizers took steps to put on a better, more interesting event than the one before it.
Two years ago, the lottery got even more attention when retailer L.L. Bean served as the host in Freeport. Last year, Cabela’s in Scarborough took the reins, the lottery was scheduled to take place on a weekend, and a mini-festival was born.
This year, continuing that trend — a desire to give more attendees more reasons to show up in person — the lottery will be held in the Rangeley region. The actual drawing will take place at Oquossoc Marine on Saturday, June 23.
But this year, those who show up on the day of the lottery and leave before the names are all drawn will have missed a grand opportunity.
That’s because a one-day moose lottery wasn’t enough for the Rangeley Region Guides and Sportsmen’s Association. Instead of a one-day lottery, members decided to expand, staging a three-day celebration of their region’s outdoor heritage.
The result: The Rangeley Lakes Region Moose Lottery Festival, which will be held June 22-24.
Cabela’s, after their 2011 moose lottery successes, has signed on as a sponsor for four different events and other sponsors have been lined up for other activities. The agenda is ambitious, and should provide something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
So, what’s on tap? I’m glad you asked. Here’s a partial list:
- A weekend-long fishing derby, with more than $6,000 in prizes up for grabs.
- The World Invitational Moose Calling Contest, with a $1,000 first prize.
- A Moose Stash Geocache.
- A golf contest during which golfers will take aim at a moose target. Proceeds will benefit the RRGSA Junior Guides Program.
- A guided ATV ride.
- A turkey shoot.
- A fun trap-shooting tourney.
- A 3D archery contest.
- A fly casting competition.
- A canoe and kayak race.
- A sailing regatta.
- Children’s story time.
- A family fitness program.
- A nature photography seminar.
- A shoreline hunting dog water fowling demonstration.