Yarmouth Clam Festival: Still Fresh After 49 Years

Steamer, the festival mascot

Steamer, the festival mascot

The weather gods were looking out for the organizers of the 49th Annual Yarmouth Clam Festival last weekend. Perhaps the unseasonably cool temperatures and lack of humidity were Mother Nature’s way of acknowledging a job well done.

The  town of 8,300 along Maine’s southern coast prepares to welcome 100,000 to its village every year to celebrate in a clamtastic way. The Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce is tasked with organizing this annual three-day event and making sure there’s something of interest for the young, the old, and everyone in between.

While the parade is a staple with its fire trucks and wild Shriners, the theme changes every year to give it a fresh look. Bands come and go as our music tastes change, and the artists and crafts people change up as well. Steamer was added as the festival mascot in 2004; he wanders through the festival all weekend, posing with anyone who wants to get a photo. Steamer and selfies go together like lime rickeys and sweet potato fries.

I’ve been attending this festival for 19 years, since moving from Massachusetts to Yarmouth. And each year, the festival succeeds in entertaining the masses. Festival attractions include a parade, 5-mile road race, professional bike race, diaper derby, clam shucking contest, firefighters’ muster, craft show, fine arts show, carnival, live music, fireworks, and more.

There’s also a food court featuring clams, clams, and more clams. No worries, though, if clams aren’t part of your diet; there’s a little something for everyone at the food court, where the vendors are Yarmouth nonprofits raising funds to do good work.

Shibumi Silk Scarf

Shibumi Silk Scarf

While lots of favorites returned to the craft show, this was the first year I noticed Shibumi Silks. A unique addition to the show, Shibumi offered festival goers the opportunity to create their own silk scarves. Events change up over the years as well. The canoe race now accommodates canoes and SUPs. The variety of shows pretty much guarantees there’s never a dull moment from start to finish at the Yarmouth Clam Festival.

Friday evening parade

Friday evening parade

Congrats to the Chamber and its many volunteers for putting on a good show! 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the clam festival. The Yarmouth Clam Festival is always the third weekend in July, and is always worth attending. I hope to see you next year July 17 – 19 on Yarmouth’s Main Street!

About Deb

Deb Nelson, principal of deb nelson consulting, is a creative storyteller. She designs and implements communication plans that leverage strategic partnerships and provide innovative solutions for her clients. You can find her on twitter at @nelliedeb.

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