The 54th Yarmouth Clam Festival will have some new events and a celebrity grand marshal leading the parade. Showing off festival merchandise July 11 are Adrienne Nardi, left, executive director of the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce, and Mark Barbalias, head of events and sponsorships. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

YARMOUTH — Organizers of the Yarmouth Clam Festival have added a pie-eating contest to lure larger crowds prior to the start of the kick-off parade, which will be led this year by an actor from an iconic 1970s sitcom.

Other changes for the 54th annual event include new traffic patterns and longer closures of Main Street and other venues where festivities will take place July 19-21.

The poster for his year’s Yarmouth Clam Festival, on July 19-21, with artwork by Page O’Rourke. Courtesy Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce

Adrienne Nardi, executive director of the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the annual three-day event, said the festival traditionally offers “something for everyone, from carnival rides to live music, and talented art and craft vendors to family-friendly events.”

This year, she said, MeTV Portland and WMTW made it possible to have Barry Williams, who played Greg Brady on “The Brady Brunch,” be grand marshal of the festival parade, which will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, July 19.

“We thought it would be a great way to help renew interest in this wonderful event. With our mission to help support our local nonprofit groups, it is definitely a win-win,” Nardi said.

Williams will ride in a convertible toward the front of the parade, she said, and be back Saturday, July 20, to attend the clam-shucking contest. He will also be available after the contest to sign autographs.

The pie-eating contest will take place at 2 p.m. Friday, July 19, on the lawn at Merrill Memorial Library. There will be two divisions, one for kids and one for those over 18. All the pies will be provided by the First Parish Church, and proceeds will go to the Yarmouth Community Food Pantry. Spots are limited, so participants are encouraged to sign up by contacting the chamber at yarmouthmaine.org or 846-3984.

Nardi said she hopes the pie-eating contest will become a popular addition to the festival, which also features a road race, a kids bicycle course, a firefighters muster, food booths operated by more than 30 local nonprofits and a fireworks show. See clamfestival.com for a full schedule of events.

There will also be a chance for kids to color in a specially designed festival mural, which was created by Yarmouth High School student Maddy Corson.

Barry Williams of “The Brady Bunch” fame will be the grand marshal of this year’s Yarmouth Clam Festival parade. Courtesy Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce

Corson’s mural, which features the festival mascot, Steamer, also includes food booths, a Ferris wheel and a depiction of the Royal River. Her piece was chosen by the festival committee from several submissions by high school students, according to Mark Barbalias, who is the events and sponsorships coordinator at the chamber.

He said this is the second year the festival has asked for a special, color-in mural from the high school art department. Corson usually specializes in oil paintings of landscapes, Barbalias said. As part of winning the mural contest she’s been invited to also display other original pieces of art during the festival.

A new Family Care Station behind the library will offer a place where parents can nurse children, or change diapers, and where people can refill water bottles, Nardi said.

Nardi said the police K-9 demonstration added to last year’s festival was such a great success that it’s been moved to a prime Main Street location on Saturday evening.

She said she’s also hopeful the Main Street Rumble, which was added two years ago, will be back after a weather-related cancellation last year. The rumble, scheduled for Sunday afternoon, July 21, will feature cars from the 1930s-1970s, she said.

From Thursday-Saturday, Nardi said, eight semi-professional sand sculptors from around the globe will be working in the parking lot at Brickyard Hollow Brewing Co. on Main Street. Judging will be at noon on Saturday.

Nardi said she is also looking forward to an interactive storytelling performance by the Cassatt String Quartet at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 20.

The presentation will combine live classical music and narration at the Kids’ Area Stage and will tell the true story of Abbie Burgess, heroine of the classic children’s book, “Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie,” by Peter Roop.

Nardi said the traffic and parking changes are being implemented due to safety concerns and to create better pedestrian flow.

Last year, Main Street was closed from School to York streets during and after the parade and all day Saturday, and the same closure will be in effect this year, she said.

But new this year will be a closure of Main Street from Portland to School streets on Saturday between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., although delivery, vendor and resident traffic will be allowed, according to the Police Department. Bridge Street will also be closed at the intersection of Main Street and will not be available for through traffic.

There’s also been a route change for the kids bicycle race Sunday morning, July 21. This year the course will run from Melissa Drive to East Elm Street and North Road. Race marshals and police will be on hand to assist with traffic direction on Melissa Drive, and residents are asked to be extra careful if they must travel through the area during the race, police said.

Throughout the weekend handicapped accessible parking will be available at Intermed, with overflow at Hancock Lumber, both on Main Street. Free shuttles to Main Street will also be available from the Garmin parking lot at Delorme Drive, off Route 1.

“I just love the feel of the whole festival,” Nardi said. “As a community we open our doors and welcome people from near and far to see what an amazing village we have.”

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