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About Bethel

  • Contained by: United States of America
  • Time zone(s): North American Eastern Time Zone
  • Events: Woodstock Festival

Bethel is a town in Sullivan County, New York, USA, whose name derives from Bethlehem. The population has been estimated at 4,255 in 2010. The town received worldwide fame after it became the host of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, which was originally planned for Wallkill, New York, but was relocated to Bethel after Wallkill withdrew. The first settlers arrived around 1795 near the present communities of Bethel and White Lake. The Town of Bethel was established in 1809 from the Town of Lumberland. By the middle of the 19th century, a tourist industry began to grow. Bethel was home to numerous hotels that were part of the "Borscht Belt" and numerous sleepaway camps for most of the 20th century, including Camp Ma-Ho-Ge, Camp Chipinaw, and Camp Ranger – all on Silver Lake. The Town of Bethel was brought to the world's attention in 1969 when nearly 500,000 people gathered at Max Yasgur's Farm for "Three Days of Peace and Music". The documentary made about Woodstock released in 1970 showed interviews with numerous Bethel residents, including Art Vassmer, co-owner of Vassmers General Store in Kauneonga Lake. A movie called "Taking Woodstock" was released in August 2009 based on the book of

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