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YARMOUTH — Red tide and clam flat closures will not prevent the 44th annual Yarmouth Clam Festival from happening this weekend.
To ensure the tradition continues, festival spokesman Sheldon Perkins said event organizers plan well in advance and always assume the possibility of red tide.
“These are local clams, and they are dug, then flash-frozen since April and May,” Perkins said. “Between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds of clams will be cooked and served during the festival.”
In addition to eating clam cakes, clam chowder, fried clams and clam strips, visitors can enjoy traditional events that keep the crowds coming back year after year.
The festival begins Friday, July 17, at 10 a.m. and will continue through Sunday, July 19, at 3 p.m.
At 2 p.m. on Friday, the second annual Battle of the Bands will begin at Railroad Park. Six bands made up of Yarmouth High School students and graduates will perform for a half hour each, covering songs from popular musicians such as Chromeo, Kings of Leon, Radiohead, Indigo Girls, Eve 6 and Wilco. Local musicians will act as judges and will rate the performances for preparation, originality, authenticity, individual and group performance quality, and audience engagement. The winning band will be paid to perform a concert Sunday, July 19, from 2-3 p.m. on the Merrill Memorial Library lawn.
The traditional and ever-popular Clam Festival parade will begin at 6 p.m. on Main Street. This year’s theme is “Hats Off to Broadway.”
Saturday is a day of competitions, with a six-mile canoe and kayak race at 7 a.m. at the Town Landing. Participants will leave the starting point and travel around Lanes Island, up Cousins River and finish at the Muddy Rudder. Race day registration begins at 5:45 a.m. at Town Landing.
There will also be a Kids’ Fun Run and a 5-mile road race.
The first 400 people to register for the Kids’ Fun Run will receive a free T-shirt, and pre-registration will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday at Memorial Green. Race day registration starts at 6 a.m.
At 7:15 a.m., 3- to 6-year-olds will compete in a half-mile run and at 7:30 a.m., the 7- to 12-year-olds will race one mile.
For adults, the 28th annual Pat’s Pizza Clam Festival 5-mile Road Race starts at 8 a.m. on Main Street at the Town Hall. The first 700 registered runners will receive a free T-shirt.
In addition to the races on Saturday, visitors can watch the Maine State Clam Shucking contest and the Maine Firefighters Muster.
Registration for the Clam Shucking contest will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the competition begins at 11 a.m. on the Merrill Memorial Library lawn. There will be professional, college and amateur divisions. The Firefighters Muster Competition starts at 1 p.m. at Memorial Green and firefighting teams will compete in bucket brigade events, firefighter suit-up races and a hose-pull contest.
Sunday’s events include the 29th annual Men’s and Women’s Professional Bike Race starting at 9 a.m. at Memorial Green. It is a 3.6-mile loop with 10 laps for men and six laps for women.
Finally, the sixth annual Diaper Derby will begin at noon with registration at 10 a.m. There are three divisions for children ages 1 month to 3 years.
Throughout the festival more than 100 artists and crafters will display and sell pottery, clothing, paintings, wood carvings and jewelry. There will be a juried craft show on the North Yarmouth Academy lawn from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. An art sale will be set up on Merrill Memorial Library lawn Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Carnival rides and amusements provided by Smokey’s Greater Shows will operate beginning Wednesday, July 15, at 5 p.m. and continue throughout the festival.
For more information, visit the Clam Festival Web site.
Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhys and Smythe Eddy put a fresh coat of paint Tuesday on the deck of what will be the battering station of the Yarmouth Ski Team food booth at the Yarmouth Clam Festival. (Matthew DeLorme photo)Rides and amusements by Smokey’s Greater Shows take shape Tuesday on the Rowe School baseball field in Yarmouth in preparation for the 44th annual Clam Festival. (Matthew DeLorme photo)