July 19, 2012

Digging the clam

That's what this weekend and the Yarmouth Clam Festival are all about.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

You'll see a lot of great traditions this year at the Yarmouth Clam Festival, which begins Friday with the annual clam festival parade.

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Steamer, the festival mascot, marching in the parade

Press Herald file photos

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FOR A COMPLETE SCHEDULE, go to clamfestival.com.


10 to 10:15 a.m.:  Join the festival mascot, Steamer the Clam, for the official opening of the 47th Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival on Memorial Green.

1 p.m.: Jimmy and The Soul Cats at North Yarmouth Academy tent

6 to 7:30 p.m.: Clam Festival Parade on Main Street. The theme is “Favorite Children’s Books.”

8:15 to 10 p.m.: Pete Kilpatrick Band at North Yarmouth Academy tent


7:15 to 7:45 a.m.: Clam Festival Kids’ Fun Run for ages 3 to 12

7 to 10:30 a.m.: Blueberry pancake breakfast at Memorial Green

8 to 9 a.m.: 31st Annual Pat’s Pizza Clam Festival Classic: Five-mile road race starting and ending on Main Street at Memorial Green

11 a.m.: Maine State Clam Shucking Contest at Memorial Green tent

1 p.m.: Clam Festival Canoe and Kayak Race at Yarmouth Town Landing

1 p.m.: Firefighters’ Muster Competition, Main Street at Memorial Green

5:30 p.m.: The Mallett Brothers Band at North Yarmouth Academy tent

7:30 p.m.: Dominic and The Lucid at North Yarmouth Academy tent

7:30 p.m.: Capt’n Eli’s Clam Festival Karaoke Challenge with Kill the Karaoke at Memorial Green tent

9:15 p.m.: Fireworks


7 to 10:30 a.m.: Blueberry pancake breakfast at Memorial Green

9 a.m.: 32nd Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival Men’s and Women’s Professional Bike Races: Races start and finish on Main Street by Memorial Green. This is a 3.6-mile loop with 10 laps for men (36 miles) and six laps for women (21.6 miles).

Noon: Healthy Kids Happy Kids Fun Ride, Main Street at Royal Bean. A one-mile bike ride for ages 6 to 12.

Noon: 40th Annual Diaper Derby on the library lawn

2 p.m.: Maine State Music Theater at library lawn tent

2 p.m.: Royal River Chorus at North Yarmouth Academy tent

3:30 p.m.: Jerks of Grass at Memorial Green Tent

On Saturday, hunky firemen will once again race to pull on their suits and form a bucket brigade in the fun Firefighters' Muster Competition on Main Street.

And if you're a betting person, it might be wise to put a few clams on Beattie Quintal of Waldoboro, who has won the Maine State Clam Shucking Competiton 10 years in a row.

But there's also a lot that's new at this year's festival, the one weekend of the year when eating as many fried clams as possible is acceptable behavior.

All weekend long, next to the carnival, golfers will be able to take the "Travelers Chipping Challenge." Anyone who scores a hole-in-one will win an iPod Shuffle or other prize, and the sponsor of the event will donate $100 to charity.

About a third of the bands at the festival will be new. The Pete Kilpatrick Band will be playing Friday night at 8:15, and The Mallett Brothers Band will bring alt-country rock to the festival late Saturday afternoon, at 5:30. Another band new to the festival, Dominic and The Lucid, will go on at 7:30 Saturday night.

If you feel like belting out a tune or two yourself, this year the karaoke at the festival will feature a live band accompanying wannabe singers instead of a DJ on Saturday night.

"We think it will be more fun," said Carolyn Schuster of the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce, organizer of the event. "It's something new, and we had some folks who had participated in it in downtown Portland who said, 'Oh this is a hoot. We've got to try this.' "

Schuster also said the event area on the library lawn is being expanded to include a stage where local theater groups will be able to perform. There will be a paint-your-own-pottery set-up and face painting for the kids as well, "so it's kind of a nice family area," she said.

A children's theater group will be performing some numbers from "Camp Rock," the Disney musical, on the stage at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Performers from Maine State Music Theater will be doing numbers from their upcoming production of "42nd Street," as well as some cabaret-style Broadway tunes, at 2 p.m. Sunday.

If your child's too old for the 40th Annual Diaper Derby, try the new Healthy Kids Happy Kids Fun Ride at noon Sunday on Main Street at The Royal Bean. This one-mile bike ride is for ages 6 to 12. Registration Sunday will be from 11 to 11:45 a.m., and costs $14. This is a non-competitive ride, so all the kids will win prizes, and the first 50 to sign up get T-shirts, too.

In between all of these events, the food vendors at the festival will be happy to sell you plenty of fried clams and lime rickeys to wash them down. The clam festival is a fundraiser for more than 35 nonprofit groups in the community, some of which run the food booths that will feed the more than 100,000 people who are expected to attend the festival this year.

The festival goes through more than 6,000 pounds of clams every year, along with 13,500 lime rickeys, 6,000 lobster rolls, 1,500 shore dinners, 400 homemade pies and 6,000 strawberry shortcakes.

With all of those clams being consumed, it's a good thing the clam harvest appears to be going well. "I heard from a local clammer that they are breaking records this year," Schuster said.

Kohl Kanwit, public health director for the Department of Marine Resources, which manages the state's clam flats, said that generally the industry appears to be doing well this year.

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Additional Photos

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The firemen's muster

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Lime rickey vendors

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Clam shucking

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A freshly fried batch of clams


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