Carolyn Maunz named Oyster Poetry contest winner

Pemaquid Oyster Fest shucks 20,000 oysters for hungry crowds

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 3:00pm

Story Location:
40 Main Street
Damariscotta, ME
United States

    DAMARISCOTTA — Another last blast of summer came through Sept. 28 for the 13th annual Pemaquid Oyster Festival on the shores of the Damariscotta River at the historic Schooner Landing Restaurant and Marina on Main Street.

    Noon to dusk, oyster lovers were in bi-valve heaven Sunday. It was 80 degree weather and the town of Damariscotta was packed. The popularity of the Pemaquid Oyster Festival has gotten so big that long lines formed just to get into the event, which was free to enter. The Pemaquid Oyster Co. had 20,000 oysters on hand with a corps of volunteer oyster shuckers opening them as fast as they could get their hands on them for the hundreds who attended. According to the official count, the hungry crowd gobbled up 16,000 of them.

    The oysters were served fresh on the half shell, broiled, stewed and baked, à la Oysters Rockefeller. All oyster choices were sold individually, with many in the crowd opting for the full dozen for $20, served with a variety of popular mignonette sauces provided by WaldoStone Farm, in collaboration with Schooner Landing. Nothing goes better with a dozen fresh local oysters than a Pemaquid Ale or a Bloody Mary, both of which were also available in great abundance, but not the only popular accompanying beverage choices.

    The festival always aims to be both educational and artistic. On the educational side, there were exhibits and a children's activity area featuring a marine life touch tank from Darling Marine Center. The festival also included boat trips to the aquaculture leases on the Damariscotta River aboard the RiverTripper, a large vessel provided by Damariscotta River Cruises

    Entertaining crowds under the tent were The Newell Family Fiddlers, Driving Charlie Home, Old Grey Goose and a closing jam session featuring a mix of many of the musicians who previously had played on-stage, with the jam group going by the name Scotti River Band.

    The winner of the Main Champion Oyster Shucking contest was Jeff "Smokey" McKeen, which is hardly a surprise as he’s been a long-time volunteer of the event and works for the Pemaquid Oyster Company. The winner of the Pemaquid Oyster Poetry Contest this year was Carolyn Maunz, whose poem, Pearl and Sam appears below. The simple rules of the contest were that the poem was open to any style of poetry, as long as it included the word “oyster” at least one time.

    All of the profits from the event benefited the Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund, a group that has awarded more than $100,000 in grants to efforts, both large and small, to support the working waterfront and Damariscotta River.

    Pearl and Sam

    An oyster named Pearl, was quite a girl;
    And known in Schooner Land.
    She'd come out of her shell, at the sound of a bell
    And was proud that she had no sand.

    One eve in September, Pearl met Sam the clam
    And felt a sudden new spark.
    She put on her best face, and wore satin and lace
    In hopes Sam wasn't a shark.

    They toasted Ed Myers in the light of the fires
    And pledged to have some fun;
    Then Pearl jumped in a stream of champagne and cream
    And suddenly Pearl was done.

    Then Sam got steamed, 'cause Pearl was creamed
    And that was the end of their date.
    But they did have some laughs while drinking drafts
    Before they met their fate.

    No finer end could come to friends
    Than the yearly Oyster Fest.
    Where folks from all round come into our town
    To taste oysters at their best.

    So come get some fall sun and join in the fun,
    At Pemaquid Oyster Nation.
    Think of Ed, Pearl and Sam and not just Pearl Jam
    We owe them a huge celebration!

     All photos by Kay Stephens

     Kay Stephens can be reached at