Oyster Festival to feature poetry, shucking contests

Posted Sept. 12, 2011, at 1:25 p.m.

DAMARISCOTTA, Maine — The Pemaquid Oyster Festival now including two contests — the Pemaquid Oyster Poetry Contest and the Maine Champion Oyster Shucking Contest.

The festival opens at noon Sunday, Sept. 25, at Schooner Landing Restaurant and Marina.

The Pemaquid Oyster Poetry Contest will allow festival guests to express their feelings about local oysters, the working waterfront and the Damariscotta River.

Billed as “’60s poetry on the half-shell,” the contest is sponsored by the Maine Coast Book Shop and Cafe, which will provide the grand prize of a $20 gift certificate. The contest will be open to any style of poetry, as long as it includes the word “oyster” at least one time. Entries will be limited to 20 poems, and each poem must be submitted during the festival beginning at 1 p.m. An announcement will be made from the stage on how and where to submit a poem. Once the contest coordinator reads the poem, the writer will be called to the stage to read the poem. If the writer is shy, he or she may designate another person to read the poem. Judges will make their decision based on the poem as written and the audience’s reaction to the poem.

The contest will be judged by a panel made up of local literaries Van Reid, author of the Moosepath League series of novels; J.W. Oliver, staff reporter for The Lincoln County News; and Susan and Barnaby Porter of the Maine Coast Book Shop and Cafe. Additional judges also may join the group.

The second annual Maine Champion Oyster Shucking Contest will be held throughout the day during the festival, with each contestant shucking his or her quota of oysters during breaks between bands. Registration for the contest will be on-site at the festival.

Top prize for the Maine Champion Oyster Shucker will be a custom belt buckle and belt designed by Alan McKinnon of Narragansett Leathers in Damariscotta. The winner will be qualified to compete in the National Oyster Shucking Contest held in St. Mary’s, Mass.

The festival also will feature a great line-up of entertainment, food, and educational exhibits.

The Pemaquid Oyster Festival is the primary fundraiser for the Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund named after Edward Myers, a Walpole resident who pioneered aquaculture in the Damariscotta River and many other areas.

The festival is seeking volunteers to fill a variety of positions, including stage management, festival set-up and take-down, boat deck hands, boat ride gate management, oyster shucking, general assistance on the food line, and contest management.

For more information on volunteer work or sponsorships, contact Greg Latimer at 380-9912 or greg@pemaquidoysterfestival.com.

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