From the assistant editor

Well done, Wormfest!

Wed, 06/12/2024 - 8:45am

The Wormfest group has hit on something. The founders picked an apt spot for the worm-digging theme, on the waterfront, and successfully walked the line of both honoring a serious and special piece of Wiscasset’s heritage and having fun off the theme, too, in creative events and more. Decades ago, who would have thought Wiscasset’s worm industry would inspire the 2024 middle school band to play the “Star Spangled Banner” on Railroad Avenue and families to put on hip waders and carry teammates who were the designated worms?

The day had a number of shifts in weather, but one attendee I spoke with noted diggers have to manage in whatever conditions they are out in, and we could, too, for the event honoring them. Days later, I saw a photo on Facebook showing a rainbow piercing clouds over the Sheepscot at Wormfest.

As I’ve noted here before, not every town has a basis to celebrate worms and digging. Different is good, because it catches the ear differently for tourists looking for the coastal Maine experience. As in many towns, you can enjoy summer fairs and fare here; Wiscasset does holidays well, with the regionally well-attended July 4 parade, the wonderful Holiday Marketfest and you have got to like the tree-lighting; here and elsewhere, schooners are celebrated, as they should be, for the coast’s boatbuilding heritage, the tourism and to build and reinforce a community’s bonds. 

Wormfest did the same, and has the plus of a theme that does not apply in every town, and of course National Geographic years ago called Wiscasset the marine worm capital of the world – not the schooner capital of Maine, not the lobster leader of New England, but the marine worm capital of the whole world. It’s cool, it’s different, and whether digging ebbs or flows, or both, in Wiscasset’s future, it is hard and honorable Maine work. My stepfather did it for a living after he fought in Korea. 

By organizers’ estimate, close to 1,000 people came to Wormfest. Many were kids. They could have free hot dogs and other treats, and the memories of being a worm, or doing something else worm-themed. Who knows? Maybe one day, they will be taking their children or grandchildren to Wormfest. 

That would be something. 

Week’s positive parting thought: Shout-out to a couple of Wormfest’s partners, Wiscasset Creative Alliance and Wiscasset Parks and Recreation. They along with businesses, groups and residents help make many events happen here every year.