The Clam Festival in Yarmouth has a rich history, starting with the Millionth Visitor Day Parade and merging with Howard Small’s Vacationland Fair, to eventually become the official Clam Festival in 1966.

Over the years, the Clam Festival featured various events. Some traditions remain, including the parade, clams, carnival and firefighters’ muster. Any revenue from the festival goes to local nonprofits. Over time, the connection to clammers has changed. In 1969, over 100 bushels of whole clams were bought from clammers and consumed by over 5,000 people. Now, with over 100,000 festival goers, the Chamber of Commerce uses a food distributor, but the clams are still predominantly sourced from Maine suppliers. Last year, festival goers consumed a record-breaking 217 gallons of clams, according to the chamber.

This year, the Casco Bay Regional Shellfish Working Group, the Maine Shellfish Learning Network and the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership are working to return the clamming fishery to the center of the festival. Visitors can engage with the clamming community through various activities. We have been working with harvesters to build a clam hod float for the parade, and there will be an opportunity to learn about clamming during the shucking contest. Visitors to the food stalls can learn about the fishery through a “tide to table” placemat that will be distributed Friday afternoon before the parade. Aligning with the parade’s theme, “People in Your Neighborhood,” we encourage festival goers to learn about the clammers in their community.

Caitlan Vultaggio,
Resilience Corps fellow,
town of Yarmouth 

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