Princesses and super heroes were kids’ favorites in the Yarmouth Clam Festival parade on Friday, July 19. Dudley Warner / For The Forecaster

YARMOUTH — The humidity and temperatures in the high 90s last weekend dampened turnout at the annual Yarmouth Clam Festival.

But organizers said attendance was still strong, especially for opening-day events that included the popular parade.

A sand sculpting contest, sponsored by Brickyard Hollow, was a new event at this year’s Yarmouth Clam Festival. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

This year the parade grand marshal was actor Barry Williams of “The Brady Bunch” fame, who was also available Saturday for autographs.

Adrienne Nardi, executive director of the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the festival, said Monday that while “the numbers were not what we typically see, Friday was a great day. We had a lot more people out than normal.”

“The heat did deter people,” Nardi acknowledged, but organizers won’t know the full impact until the numbers start coming in later this week from booth and food-stand operators. Nardi said beverage sales were booming, and she noticed that some of the fried-food booths were busy throughout the three-day event.

Historically, the three-day festival is expected to attract about 120,000 people.

The heat also caused some changes in the schedule of events, Nardi said. For instance the K-9 demonstration planned for Saturday afternoon was called off “because it was just too hot for the dog,” she said.

In addition, the Fire Department stepped in to provide a cooling mist for participants in the Kids Fun Run and the annual road race.

In terms of the overall festival, Nardi said new road closures and parking changes went well and will likely be repeated next year. She said a parking lot for handicapped people at Intermed was well used, and she was also pleased to see that many people used a shuttle that ran between Garmin on Route 1 and the festival grounds on Main Street.

Local artist Page Eastburn O’Rourke, who was chosen for the third time to create the festival’s official poster, said Monday that the heat kept people away, but she made a big sale during the last hour on Sunday and “had a fantastic day Friday,” which helped make up for the loss of traffic on Saturday.

Yarmouth artist Page Eastburn O’Rourke created the official Clam Festival poster for the third time this year. Courtesy Page O’Rourke

O’Rourke, who describes her painting style as “pop folk art,” said she chose the clam-shucking contest as the subject for this year’s festival poster because it’s such a staple of the event. She hopes her image “captured the fun spirit” of the clam festival and said it was “a huge, huge honor” to create the poster for the third time.

In 2012 her image focused on a clammer in Casco Bay and last year’s poster featured the view down Main Street from her booth on the lawn at Merrill Memorial Library. O’Rourke has been part of the art show at the festival for the past 10 years and said as a long-time resident of Yarmouth she “never, ever misses” the annual event. “I absolutely love it.”

She called the festival “the highlight of the year for our family.” O’Rourke said she invites friends and family to come to town and enjoy a picnic and the parade every year. She said her favorite part of the festival is interacting with the other artists, who often buy art from each other.

While she enjoys all aspects of the clam festival, O’Rourke said this year “I lived on Lime Rickey’s and Lemon Lucy’s,” the festival’s signature drinks.

Because of the heat, she said, “I kept texting my son to bring me a Lemon Lucy slushy.”

 

 


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