If you love lobster, don’t miss the Maine Lobster Festival Thursday-Sunday, July 31-August 4, at Harbor Park in Rockland.
Come to the food tent overlooking Penobscot Bay for a dinner of fresh lobster served with butter. It’s the most delicious, messy way to enjoy a pleasant evening on the water, because as lobster-eating pros know, there isn’t a neat way to eat a lobster in the shell…
Or try other tasty, less messy items made from your favorite crustacean, such as lobster mac ‘n cheese, lobster bisque, lobster-stuffed risotto balls, or lobster wontons. And, of course, there’s the famous lobster roll. Without it, summer just wouldn’t be summer in New England.
Other Maine seafood is on the menu, too, like steamed mussels and clams. You can get smoked mussels, scallops, shrimp, or salmon. Or fried clams and New England clam chowder.
If you’re still hungry, try some homemade Maine blueberry cobbler or strawberry shortcake for dessert.
In the morning, come to the pancake breakfast. For a bargain $6 per adult and $3 for a child, eat as many blueberry pancakes and sausages as you want. Juice, coffee, and milk are included.
This feast continues throughout the weekend, but that isn’t only food-related activity. On Friday, August 2, the Seafood Cooking Contest starts at 9 a.m. Amateur chefs ages 18 and older prepare recipes made with seafood found in Maine’s waters. They have 2.5 hours to finish their masterpieces. Then the judges evaluate each creation and announce the first-, second-, and third-place winners.
Steins and Vines returns this year with two beer and wine tastings on Thursday, August 1, at 3:30-5 p.m. and 5:30-7 p.m. in front of the Maine Stage. View the list of participating wineries and breweries for each tasting and purchase tickets at the Steins and Vines page.
Browse and buy fine art and handmade crafts from Maine in two tents. Take a look at the entries in the 72nd Maine Lobster Festival Open Juried Art Show at Camden National Bank, 300 Main Street.
Back at the festival grounds, enjoy live entertainment (view the lineup), and go on traditional carnival rides. Get up close with Maine’s sea life at the touch tanks in the Marine Tent. Learn more about the lobstering and fishing industries from the people who work there.
No festival is complete without a parade. The Big Parade takes place on Saturday, August 3, on Main Street in Rockland starting at 10 a.m. This year’s theme is “Community…at the ‘heart’ of it all”.
On the last day of the festival (August 4), walk or run off those extra calories at the Road Race, Fun Run and Walk. The 10K and 5K road races start at 8 a.m. Walkers can participate in the 5K. The Kids Fun Run starts at 8:30 a.m.
Then at 2 p.m., test your balancing skills at the Great International Lobster Crate Race. Registration starts at 7 a.m. at the Souvenir Tent, formerly the Information Booth. Come early, because the slots fill fast.
Admission prices for the festival vary by day:
- On opening day (July 31), admission is $1 for adults and free for kids 6-12.
- On Thursday through Saturday (August 1-3), admission is $8 for adults and free for kids 6-12.
- On Sunday (August 4), admission is free for everyone.
Harbor Park is located at 1 Pleasant Street in Rockland. Free parking is available at the South Elementary School at 30 Broadway, where you can catch a free shuttle bus to the park. The buses run every 30 minues.
For those living outside Rockland, the Rally Bus is providing transportation from several locations in Maine, New Hampshire, and Maine.
For more information, go to mainelobsterfestival.com.
Rockland is located 78 miles northeast of Portland, Maine, and 189 miles northeast of Boston.
Photo credit: Maine Lobster Festival