Photo: Catamount Prowl

Following two successful and award-winning Moosefest Gala and Auction events, the Catamount Prowl aims to bring street art back to Bennington through October. Approximately 50 Fiberglas catamounts have been offered to area artists to decorate in imaginative ways.

Hand it to the Bennington Chamber, they’ve found a formula that works. This is their third such art project: Moosefest 2005 raised $290,000; Palettefest 2006 brought in $100,000; and Moosefest 2009 thundered up $200,000.

Says Lindy Lynch, chairwoman of the festival for the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce: “It does bring the tourists, and gets them walking Main Street.”

These artistic catamounts will go up for bid at this year’s auction, planned for October 26.

Large, wild cats, the catamounts, or cougars, are native to the Americas. Their connection to Bennington dates back to their adoption as the unofficial mascot of the Green Mountain Boys. The Bennington Museum ( reportedly is planning three months of exhibits in their lobby to explore the catamount’s history — and mythology — in Vermont.

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