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

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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

Beginning last August, Kanwit said, the department started reviewing areas along the coast that could possibly be reclassified and opened for harvesting. By fall, more than 2,000 acres of clam flats had been reopened.

Yarmouth and Freeport have put in a proposal to reclassify a part of the Cousins River, Kanwit said, and it looks promising, but the proposal is still in the works.

Yarmouth has a special access area where a company is allowed to do depuration digging, "which means that they take clams that couldn't go directly to market and they clean them out, basically, through an approved process, and that area sounds like it's extremely productive again this year," Kanwit said.

"This is the second year they've been allowed to harvest in there. They use local diggers, and they also have other diggers from other places come in to do those depuration harvests. So there's a lot of clams being taken out of Yarmouth, especially in that area."

No matter what the harvest is like, it's unlikely the Yarmouth Clam Festival would ever run short of the critters. The buyers for the festival place their orders in late winter or early spring so they won't be left with empty plates.

Festival goers need some way to work off all of those calories. Saturday's festival kicks off at 8 a.m. with the 31st Annual Pat's Pizza Clam Festival Classic 5-Mile Road Race.

If you'd rather be on the water, the Clam Festival Canoe and Kayak Race begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Yarmouth Town Landing, and there are some changes to the race this year. In the past, the race has gone up the Cousins River and ended at the Muddy Rudder, which was a sponsor of the event. But this year, paddlers will go up the Royal River and back.

Race director Emma Pope-Welch said only people who consider themselves experienced paddlers usually enter the race.

"It starts right at the Yarmouth Town Landing, and the paddlers will paddle out the Royal River and around Lanes Island," she said. "That piece brings them out into kind of the open ocean. It's still pretty protected, but the total course is six miles, so it is a pretty lengthy paddle to be racing."

The race will end at the Royal River Grillhouse, which will be offering a special menu for the contestants.

All paddlers will receive a T-shirt with the clam festival and paddle race logos on it, and first-place winners in each category will win a special hat. There are 18 categories, and some of them, like the "Canoe Century" category, have quirky requirements.

"That's a two-person canoe with your ages adding up to over 100," Pope-Welch said. "We have a few people in that category already."

The junior-senior category requires that one paddler be under 18, the other over 18 -- a good category for parents and kids or grandparents and grandchildren.

The entry fee is $20 per person, or $30 per person on the day of the race. Proceeds benefit the Maine Island Trail Association. 

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:


Twitter: MeredithGoad


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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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