Time flies when you’re having fun and eating clams.

Barbara Fox was the mother of four young children in 1965 when she helped start a summer event aimed at bringing shoppers to Yarmouth’s small downtown.

On Friday, the now 87-year-old Fox will be one of the grand marshals at the Yarmouth Clam Festival’s parade, helping kick off an event that has become one of southern Maine’s signature summer happenings, drawing as many as 130,000 people over three days to the town of about 9,000.

“I recall a chamber of commerce meeting at the local bank where the brainstorming was all about how we could attract more customers to support the Yarmouth business community. We laughed as we pointed out that Rockland already had a lobster festival, and Belfast had a broiler (chickens) festival,” recalled Fox, who was at the first clam festival 58 years ago. “We could have a clam festival and some pretty girl could be Miss Clam. And we could make a big clam shell for her to ride in the parade.”

Times have changed since the Yarmouth Clam Festival began, and there’s no longer a Miss Clam crowned. But organizers have continued building and expanding on the ambitious idea of the festival’s founders. The three-day event this year will include more than 40 hours of live entertainment, a carnival midway, arts and crafts, fireworks and an hourlong parade with more than 130 marchers, floats and cars. The parade itself is so popular that locals set up folding chairs along Main Street weeks before its run.

Travis Lee, a WMTW TV sports anchor, competes in the celebrity clam-shucking contest last year. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

There are also dozens of food, drink and treat options, including plenty of clams. Booths are run by local community groups and sports teams, who rely on the festival as a major source of funding.


The festival is so jam-packed with activities, events and entertainment that you’ll be able to find a lot to do no matter how much time – or how little – you spend there. Basically whenever you go the festival, time is on your side.

Here then is a minute-by-minute guide to some of the festival’s scheduled fun this year. The festival opens at 10 a.m. Friday.


3:45 p.m. Leave work early and start your time at the festival perusing the Craft and Fine Art Show, browsing the jewelry, clothing, collectibles, art and other hand-crafted items. It runs all day until 9 p.m. at the North Yarmouth Academy lawn.

4 p.m. Head over to the kid’s area on the Merrill Memorial Library lawn to see Jack Streeter the Roving Juggler. Across the street on the Memorial Green stage you can see Portland band Joint Chiefs, rocking out from 4:30-5:30 p.m. You can also get some dinner before the parade here, at the Food Circle on Memorial Green. The menu includes whole belly clams, lime rickeys, fried dough, burgers, steak tips and haddock fingers.

5:40 p.m. Start looking for a good spot along Main Street to see the parade, which starts at 6 p.m. and lasts more than an hour. The theme for floats and groups this year is “People in Your Neighborhood.”


7:30 p.m. After seeing people ride floats, do some riding yourself, at the carnival area run by Smokey’s Greater Shows next to the Rowe School on School Street. It’s open until 11 p.m.

People ride the ferris wheel at the Yarmouth Clam Festival in 2022. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


10 a.m. See a police dog in action during a K9 demonstration by Yarmouth police at the kid’s area. You could also wander over to North Yarmouth Academy for a classical music performance by the Portland Community Orchestra, which runs from 10-11 a.m.

11 a.m. The Maine State Clam Shucking Contest – arguably the marquee event at the festival – will be held on the Memorial Green Stage. There’ll be one competition for professional shuckers and one for amateurs. The fastest shucker wins. There’ll also be two heats for local media celebrities. This year the celebrity contestants include Samantha York and Jack Molmud from TV station NewsCenter Maine and Lori Voornas and Jeff Parsons from radio station WHOM, among others. The shucking spectacular runs until 1 p.m.

11:40 a.m. If you need a musical break from the flying clam shells at the shucking contest, a ukulele ensemble called The Flukes will be playing at North Yarmouth Academy on Main Street from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

1 p.m. You have your choice of two family-friendly events. At the kids’ area on the library lawn you can catch the Andrew Silver Circus from 1-2 p.m., and at the Memorial Green, there’ll be a “People’s Muster” from 1-3:30 p.m. The latter is inspired by the fireman’s musters you see at Maine fairs, but will include festival-goers competing in water-centric events like a bucket brigade and will definitely involve people getting wet.


The Yarmouth Clam Festival’s parade will be held Friday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

2 p.m. Catch the second half of a show by the Cumberland Community Band at the NYA stage and then at 2:30 p.m. enjoy the a cappella harmonies of the Downeasters Barbershop Chorus, in the same place. The Downeasters show runs until 4 p.m.

8:35 p.m. Take a break for a few hours if you must, but come back in time to get a good spot for the fireworks at 9 p.m. There are a few prime viewing spots around the festival for the half-hour show, including behind the library, at Smokey’s Greater Shows or on the Memorial Green. Then right after the night sky lights up, a rock, pop and blues dance band called Fight at the Family Picnic will perform at the Memorial Green. There’s also a performance by Blue Fuse Jazz at the NYA stage at the same time, from 9:30-10:30 p.m.


11:30 a.m. At least once during the festival you have got to have your photo taken with Steamer the Clam, the festival’s cute and cuddly bivalve mascot. Luckily there are Steamer Sightings set up throughout the festival, including this one at 11:30 a.m. at the NYA stage.

Pippa Lynch, 2, of Yarmouth sits in the front of a 1948 fire engine at the Yarmouth Clam Festival in 2022. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

11:55 a.m. You might want to get to the Memorial Green a little early for the Diaper Derby, the festival’s popular race for toddlers, from noon to 1 p.m. There are three divisions for young racers, including crawlers (1-12 months), toddlers (13-24 months) and senior toddlers (25-36 months).

1:10 p.m. After the Diaper Derby, get some food and relax to the music of the Wicked Good Band – known for Maine humor and music – on the Memorial Green stage. Or if you’re in the mood for barbershop harmonies, the Royal River Chorus will be performing on the NYA stage. Both shows are from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

1:45 p.m. Check out the Maine Street Rumble Car show in front of Town Hall any time between 1 and 3 p.m.

2:30 p.m. If the kids are getting restless as the festival nears its end, take them over to the Party Polooga balloon twisting area on the library lawn between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.  The festival ends at 5 p.m. Sunday.

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