New England Events: The Maine Lobster Festival
We are an IT staffing and technical consulting company, but we’re proud of the fact that we’re a Northern New England IT staffing and technical consulting company. In fact, we’re so pumped about our regional heritage that we decided to start a new series of blog posts that celebrates the Northern New England area. And today, we’ll start the series off with, well … the lobster.
Yes. I’m talking about those red critters that scuttle around the ocean floor. No, I’m not going to bore you with the details of the succulent taste of fresh Maine lobster or even list off the ridiculous Maine lobster facts. Nope. Instead we’ll start the series off with a description of the Maine Lobster Festival, a five-day celebration that has become a leading New England event.
The Setting: Rockland, ME
However, before we get to the Lobster Festival discussion, we need to set the location backdrop – Rockland, Maine. Rockland is a small town, only 15.1 square miles, right on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Its coastal location has traditionally made it a fishing town, but in recent years, with the help of events like the Maine Lobster Festival and the North Atlantic Blues Festival, Rockland has seen an uptick in the number of tourists. People pour from all over the world to visit this quaint area, which is easily accessible from Boston (3 hours) and Portland, ME (1.5 hours). Rockland’s residents take great pride in their town, its heritage and its people; they can boast several Pulitzer prize winners, U.S. politicians, and actors/actresses.
The History of the Lobster Festival
Due to Rockland’s fishing heritage, it comes as no surprise that it’s the home of a festival dedicated to … lobsters.
The idea for the event initially started in 1947 in Camden, ME, a mere 8 miles down the road from Rockland. A group of Camden residents wanted to resume summertime events that had fallen by the wayside as a result of World War II. Their solution was the Camden-Rockport Lobster Festival.
Unfortunately, the one-day parade and lobster eating event wasn’t as successful as the founders hoped, causing Camden-Rockport to nix the event. The Rockland Junior Chamber of Commerce ran with the idea though and spearheaded the efforts to bring the festival to Rockland.
In 1948, a year after the festival’s initial inception, Rockland ran the Maine Lobster Festival, a two-day event that included a parade, a concert, a coronation ball and of course … lobster eating. The festival was wildly successful and became a staple New England summer event.
Today, the Maine Lobster Festival is a five-day event that holds onto many of its traditions; a parade, a “Sea Goddess” coronation, and plenty of lobster. It runs the first weekend of August. The Maine Lobster Festival celebrates its 65th birthday this week.
The Maine Lobster Festival is run completely off of volunteers. The nearly one million dollars they raise every summer goes into planning the next year’s festival as well as into the community. Recent donations include generous monetary donations to the The Maine Lighthouse Museum, Rockland Police Department, local schools, Children’s Museums, Cancer Centers, and the Rockland Public Landing.
Lobster Festival Events
- FoodIn 2011, over 20,000 pounds of lobster were cooked in the World’s Largest Lobster Cooker. That’s right. We’ve got the world’s largest lobster cooker.
- The Big ParadeAbout 25,000 people watch this parade annually. It is one of the longest parades in the state of Maine.
- Great International Lobster Crate RaceIndividuals try to run over 50 partially submerged lobster crates. The contestants can fall into the water at any moment and provide many laughs for the not-so-brave spectators.
- Sea Goddess Coronation18 young women from the Midcoast area compete for scholarship money, prizes and the chance to be crowned ‘The Maine Sea Goddess.’ The Sea Goddess represents the lobster industry and Rockland for the next year.
- The Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest for amateur cooks.
- Concerts: This year’s main concert event is the group .38 Special.
- 10K, 5K, 1 mile road races
It’s not just Mainers who get excited by this event. National magazines and major metropolitan newspapers cover the festivities as do several national television programs. The American Bus Association has named the Lobster Festival one of the “Top 100 Events in North America” while Events Business News ranked it one of the “Top 250 Events in the United States.”
So, the Lobster Festival? It’s a big deal. It’s also a unique way to explore Northern New England while eating some fresh seafood. The Maine Lobster Festival is all about the good times, the great food and helping a local community. That’s real New England spirit.
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For more information check out The Maine Lobster Festival’s website. We’d like to thank their website for our information on the Maine Lobster Festival.
Thanks to shelley_ginger for the use of their respective photographs.