DAMARISCOTTA — In an election year twist, the Pemaquid Oyster Festival is inviting politicians running for local, statewide and national offices (including President) to join the popular Pemaquid Oyster Poetry Contest that will take place at the event on Sunday, September 30.
“We have always held the line when it comes to keeping the Pemaquid Oyster Festival a politics-free event,” said Event Director Greg Latimer. “But we thought it might be fun to take the politicians out of their element, and bring them into the world of oysters … I guess now we’ll just have to see if any of the politicians agree with that.”
The Pemaquid Oyster Festival has sent invitations out through the Maine Republican and Democrat state offices, and the Angus King headquarters. Members of the public are, as always, invited to submit their entries to the contest as well. However, because of the popularity of the contest, entries must be submitted before the festival. All entries will be reviewed and a selected number will be notified that they will be included in the Pemaquid Oyster Poetry Contest.
Politicians must also submit their entries in advance, but in the spirit of fairness, all politicians who submit a poem will be invited to join the contest. However, they must read their poem personally on the Pemaquid Oyster Festival stage. (Regular contestants can choose a reader, or a Pemaquid Oyster Festival announcer can read their poem to the audience.)
Billed as “60’s poetry on the half-shell,” the Pemaquid Oyster Poetry Contest is sponsored by the Maine Coast Book Shop and Café, which will provide the grand prize of a $20 gift certificate to the winning member of the public. (A special “triple secret” prize is being arranged for the winning politician.)
The Pemaquid Oyster Poetry Contest will be open to any style of poetry, as long as it includes the word “oyster” at least one time.
Both members of the public and politicians must submit their entries by Wednesday, September 19 by mailing the poem to Greg Latimer at PO Box 545, Damariscotta, ME, 04543 or emailing the poem to
. In both cases, a contact telephone number must be included with the entry.
Judges will make their decision based on the poem as written and the audience’s reaction to the poem, so writers or their stand-ins can earn a higher rating from the judges with some on-stage flair.
The Pemaquid Oyster Poetry Contest will be judged by a qualified panel made up of local luminaries, whose identities will be revealed soon. As always, the Pemaquid Oyster Festival will feature a line-up of entertainment, food, and educational exhibits.
While the event is held outdoors on Schooner Landing’s riverside deck, there are tents to cover the educational exhibits, entertainment stage, and other locations so that the Pemaquid Oyster Festival can be held rain or shine.
The Pemaquid Oyster Festival is the primary fundraiser for the Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund. The fund is named after Edward Myers, a Walpole resident who pioneered aquaculture in the Damariscotta River and many other areas.
“This fund is intended to continue Edward Myers’ vision of having a sustainable working waterfront as well as protecting our marine environment; implemented through education and research projects with a focus on marine conservation,” said Chris Davis of the Pemaquid Oyster Company.
The Pemaquid Oyster Festival is also seeking volunteers to fill a variety of positions. Some of the activities volunteers will be needed for include: 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, call 380-9912 or email