For more than half a century now, Maine has been hosting festivals annually in honor of their delicious seafood delicacy – Maine Lobsters.
The festival activities have evolved into a must-visit tourist event and had generated considerable funds not just for the Maine Lobster Industry, but also, for local charities.
The first Maine Lobster Annual Festival was 61 years ago to this year which only included just a handful of activities to celebrate this amazing gift from the seas and to create more awareness on its promotion and sustainable protection as a growing industry.
But as years passed by, the Maine Lobster Industry has grown to become one of the most profitable fisheries not just in Maine but in all of America and even in the International Market.
In 1999, the State of Maine reported how a catch of 52,614,536 pounds brought in $181,538,232.00 already. Last year 2007, the 56 million pounds brought in a whooping $249 million in revenue for the State. With this exponential development came the formal institutionalization of the Maine Lobster Annual Festival with representatives from all stakeholders freely volunteering their services to become members of the Board of Directors and other necessary committees.
These directors together with almost a thousand of volunteers immediately get down to business in mapping-out and implementing the following year’s Maine Lobster Annual Festival activities in the next 11 months after the last day of the previous one comes to a close.
Among the Maine Lobster Annual Festival volunteers’ tasks are: launching information campaigns and sponsorship programs, preparing the world’s largest lobster cooker for the 20,000 or so pounds of Maine Lobster for the actual 5-day festival activities, the setting-up of the traditional Sea Goddess Coronation and Huge Annual Festival Parade with the year’s King Neptune and the City Float.
Also, there are those top-notch entertainments, international crate race, fine art, talented crafts people and vendors, US Navy Ship and US Coast Guard Station tours, all-you-can-eat pancakes, free shuttle services, professional and amateur cooking contests, marine heritages, road races and kids events among others.
However, these Festival workers get nothing for their efforts but their satisfaction of mutual involvement and the pleasure of knowing that the proceeds of their hard work helps support the Maine Lobster Industry and the community in more ways than any could imagine.
In recent years, the Festival reported to have shelled-out more than $500,000 to the local community by supporting the Gateway Center, the Bob Gagnon Cancer Care Center at Penobscot Bay Medical Center as well as setting-up numerous improvements and supplies for the City of Rockland to mention a few.
In conclusion, Maine Lobster Annual Festival has become a traditional way for many Maine Lobster aficionados to give back not just to the lobster’s marine environment, but also, to the community protecting it.