Rita and her husband Lanny stand near the special museum display commemorating her accomplishments.
Sunday, July 12, 2009, marked the first special event for the museum with the visit of Rita Willey. Rita is the five-time champion of the World's Fastest Sardine Packer competition. In the 1970's, when Rita was the reigning champion, she could pack 400 cans per hour. That means cutting and packing five fish per can. Her fame landed her on "The Toinight Show" with Johnny Carson, "What's My Line?", "To Tell The Truth", and "Real People". She was also featured in publications such as, "Sports Illustrated", "Downeast Magazine", and several smaller publications. In 1970 she received the Bud Collins Award from the Boston Globe.
Museum visitors were able to meet and chat with Rita. Each visitor also received a commemorative sardine can with a special label that could be autographed by Rita.