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Yarmouth Clam Festival returns with massive turnout

The Yarmouth Clam Festival returned from a pandemic hiatus, bringing shucking contests, fried foods, and fun for families longing for the historic festival.

YARMOUTH, Maine — The Yarmouth Clam Festival returned to Maine for the first time since 2019, and families told NEWS CENTER Maine they were pleased with the historic event becoming tradition yet again.

"It still doesn't feel as normal as it used to," Joshua Lafreniere said. He's been to the Yarmouth Clam Festival every year until the pandemic shut it down in three years ago.

"We're still just starting back up though, in the first year back, it's a really good thing," he said.

Lafreniere is looking forward to the tradition continuing without more interruptions, as he's a father now and can take his youngest son, Isaac.

"I love it I can't wait to keep coming back and showing the kids how much fun these festivals are," Lafreniere said.

Festival organizers with the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce expected around 80,000 visitors during the three-day weekend event.

They told NEWS CENTER Maine that the real number as of Sunday afternoon was closer to 120,000 unique visitors.

"We sold out of merchandise on Friday night, the food vendors had to go get more food, I think that speaks for itself that people are loving it," Shawn Chigro-Rogers, the interim executive director of the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce, said.

The festival was a welcome sight for older Mainers as well as new families entering their toddlers and infants in children's races.

The Sullivan's, taking home gold after their infant Sheamus' performance in the diaper races, said they came to the clam festival many years before they were parents.

"It was an exciting day for all of us," Shawn Sullivan, the father of Sheamus, said. "We heard about the diaper derby from work... he's been crawling for about a month now so we've had a couple weeks to train."

The best part for NEWS CENTER Maine employees, however, was taking home the Clam Shuck trophy for the first festival since pre-COVID.

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