Dig into Wormfest June 8 in Wiscasset

Sat, 03/30/2024 - 8:45am

    March 29 in a Wiscasset home, a grassroots committee was talking dirt pie-eating, a worm-themed relay race, carnival fare and games, an exhibit on Wiscasset worm digging history, a possible beer garden, and area band Something Stupid booked for the downtown block party Wormfest, June 8.


    Committee member Lucy Oyster said that is the reaction from people hearing about the event it they are unfamiliar with Wiscasset’s worm-digging heritage. She said the shock and confusion about the theme gives way to excitement, and it has been nice to see the looks on past diggers’ faces, that an event is celebrating something they have done. 

    Word on Wormfest is getting around on Facebook, where it has an event page. A website is planned, committee member Sarah Whitfield said. And at 6 p.m. April 9, the committee, which also includes Tracey Whitney, Julee Ketelhut and Ann Light, will hold an informational meeting in Wiscasset Community Center’s Senior Center. 

    Committee members said people’s initial confusion over the worm theme subsides once they learn digging is a long Wiscasset tradition, and 20 years ago National Geographic dubbed the town the worm capital of the world. This being the anniversary year of that distinction helped inspire the friends to act on an idea they said had been kicking around for years. They said another prompt was last fall’s news of worms escaping from a cart on the waterfront.

    “We also just thought it was a great way to bring our community together,” Whitfield added.  Nationwide and worldwide and within the community, there’s a lot of divisive things that go on, and we just wanted to bring people together for something that’s a little quirky but also that’s really an important part of our history and also current industry.”

    Ketelhut adores the community, plus as an antique dealer she cannot imagine a more picturesque, Americana event to be a part of than one like they are planning. And Whitney, a former teacher, wants to get families downtown and to have local children “be excited about being from Wiscasset, and to be excited about what that is, and what their history is.”

    Whitfield said Wormfest Tshirts will be priced as low as possible, and any proceeds will help cover the band and hopefully the start of a scholarship for a local high school student. “We’ll be banking that away, so hopefully we’ll have a pretty big pot to give that out next year,” she said.

    Why June 8? Whitfield said Something Stupid was booked into 2025, but told her it could move some things around on June 8. The committee took the date, which Whitfield said might be well-timed: She noted it will be early in festival season, and people might not be off vacationing yet.

    Wiscasset Creative Alliance and Wiscasset Parks and Recreation are partnering with the committee and more partners for this year’s event are being lined up, members said. 

    Oyster said interest is mounting among youth about the dirt pie-eating contest planned for adults and children, thanks to seventh grader son Graham and her second grader daughter Olive. There may need to be multiple divisions, members said. Dirt pie is chocolate pie with cookie pieces and candy worms, and no cream, Whitfield said.

    For more information or to ask about volunteering, attend that April 9 meeting at WCC or email wiscassetwormfest@gmail.com