Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Tuesday, May 31, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 21

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10/3/2012 2:00:00 PM
Downpour Doesn't Faze Oyster Lovers
Eric Green's blues match the gray weather at the Pemaquid Oyster Festival. (J.W. Oliver photo)
Eric Green's blues match the gray weather at the Pemaquid Oyster Festival. (J.W. Oliver photo)
By J.W. Oliver

The Pemaquid Oyster Festival continues to be one of Damariscotta's most popular attractions, attracting hundreds despite steady rain that turned into a downpour Sept. 30.

Festival-goers huddled under the big tent, donated by festival sponsor Renys, to enjoy drinks, music and poetry, support conservation and eat 14,770 oysters, just short of the festival record set in 2011.

"The oyster festival is never hampered by rainfall," event director Greg Latimer said. "The oysters don't mind it and neither do we."

This year, the event was dedicated to the late Edgecomb lobsterman and longtime festival volunteer Richard "Rich" Tonry, who died July 25 at the age of 48.

"Rich epitomized the working waterfront," Latimer said.

The festival is a fundraiser for the Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund.

Tom Myers, son of the late aquaculture pioneer, presented grants from the fund to The Carpenter's Boat Shop, the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration, Damariscotta River Association, Darling Marine Center, Great Salt Bay Community School, OceansWide Inc., Pemaquid Watershed Association, South Bristol School and The Tonry Family Fund.

Tonry's family was on hand to accept the grant.

Ed Myers' widow, Julia Myers, was also present for the awards and festivities.

Dr. Chris Davis of festival sponsor Pemaquid Oyster Company Inc. said the annual event has raised almost $70,000 for the Myers fund in its 12 years.

Festival attractions included the Maine Champion Oyster Shucking Contest and the Pemaquid Oyster Poetry Contest.

Ben Wolven, a former Damariscotta resident who currently lives in Boulder, Col. and flew in for the event, won the former, shucking a dozen oysters in one minute and 13 seconds.

Shucking contest judges inspect the oysters for bits of shell and for the amount of liquid or "liquor" remaining and hand out "demerits" where necessary. Wolven did not receive any demerits.

Wolven won a custom oyster belt buckle and leather belt from Narragansett Leather, as well as the right to represent the state at the upcoming National Oyster Shucking Championship in Leonardtown, Md.

Janet McMahon won the Pemaquid Oyster Poetry Contest and a $20 gift certificate to the Maine Coast Book Shop, while Dana Morse and Mick Devin finished second and third, respectively.

Morse was the runner-up for the second consecutive year.

This year, festival organizers invited candidates for local, state and national office, from the town office to the White House, to submit their poems.

Sen. Chris Johnson and Devin, a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives, accepted the challenge.

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