From Wife Carrying to Clam Shucking: Maine’s Top 5 Quirkiest Yearly Showdowns
If you need any proof that Maine is a unique state, you only need to look at all the annual contests that are held in our state. We're not talking about boring things like a chess tournament or a dog show. We're looking at the events that happen annually in Maine that will have "people from away" asking, "Do they really do that in Maine?"
The answer is yes. We do. These annual competitions are quirky, out of the ordinary, and can even be downright dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.
We've combed through the events that happen each year in Maine and came up with the top five quirkiest in the state.
5. Clam Shucking Contest
As someone who has competed in the celebrity clam shucking contest at the Yarmouth Clam Festival, I can tell you this is dangerous. Someone always cuts their finger open and bleeds when their clamshell cracks . I've never won, but some people at the TV stations over the years take this seriously and actually practice, managing to take home several trophies. I won't drop names...actually, yes I will. Shannon Moss and Jackie Ward (formerly from News Center Maine) and current evening news anchor Amanda Hill. They're pros who beat us every single year.
4. Whoopie Pie Eating Contest
Ah, the whoopie pie. The official treat of Maine. Have you ever eaten more than one in a sitting? Better yet, have you ever tried to eat as many as you can in a set time limit? I don't know how you do it, because I feel a sugar overload after eating just one. There are several whoopie pie-eating contests across the state each year, and these contestants must all have iron guts.
3. US National Toboggan Championships
Strap yourself in for this ride. The US National Toboggan Championships happen in Maine every winter at Camden Snow Bowl, and this year's event is happening February 2-4. Last year, 91 teams registered to be flung down a chute on a toboggan and shot out over the ice of Hosmer Pond in the hope of achieving the fastest time down. This is the closest you can get to a rollercoaster during the winter in Maine.
2. Pumpkin Regata
Some years ago, someone must have said, "Hey you know what would be cool? Getting in a giant pumpkin and paddling around in the Damariscotta River." The Maine Pumpkinfest's Annual Pumpkin Regata was born. It's so bizarre yet unique that NBC Nightly News came up to Damariscotta to do a story on this wacky race.
1. Wife Carrying Championship
This one wins the award for the quirkiest completion in Maine, hands down. The annual North American Wife Carrying Championship happens each year at Sunday River and 2024 will be the 25th running (or I guess carrying) of the race. The course has two dry obstacles and one wet one, featured here in this video. See if you count how many times the person being carried gets their head dunked in the water.
The best seat in the house is at the water hazard.
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Gallery Credit: Kira Lew