South Portland festival to celebrate seaweed

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SOUTH PORTLAND — When Hillary Krapf, a holistic healer in Portland, had shingles in 2012, she rejected modern cures and instead treated herself with what most beach-goers tend to steer away from: seaweed.

The seaweed treatment worked “miraculously,” Krapf said, and for the past year, she has dedicated herself to seaweed advocacy and education. She grew passionate about seaweed’s qualities, not just in healing, but in nutrition, art and especially Maine’s economy.

With the help of partners at the Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine, Krapf will host the first Maine Seaweed Festival to celebrate the many practical functions of Maine seaweed.

“We want everyone to love seaweed as much as we do,” Krapf said. 

The free festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 30, at Southern Maine Community College, 4 Fort Road, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. It will feature activities, food and entertainment throughout the day that highlight the qualities and importance of Maine seaweed: yoga, storytelling with Portland’s The Telling Room, an educational ocean touch-tank, an all-day mural art project, seaweed songwriting, and a seaweed parade. 

Food vendors for the event, including food trucks from Good Shepard Food Bank, Locally Sauced, Fishin’ Ships and Maine Grain Alliance, will also provide special seaweed dishes. The festival will also serve up Maine seaweed ice cream.

The festival winds down with a ticketed dinner with offerings from several local chefs and farmers. The meal also includes a discussion with featured guest chef Barton Seavor, who is a National Geographic Fellow and advocate for sustainable food systems. 

Krapf said she hopes the event will stimulate interest in sustainable seaweed farming, an industry she believes is undervalued.

“It’s about having a fun, celebratory moment, but this is really education and awareness-building, ” Krapf said.

The festival will be held rain or shine. For more information visit seaweedfest.com.

Shelby Carignan can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or scarignan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @shelbycarignan.

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The debut Maine Seaweed Festival, which celebrates the local seaweed industry, will be held Saturday, Aug. 30, at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.

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