King Neptune and Sea Goddess arrive!People come thousands of miles for 65th Maine Lobster Festival
Rockland — King Neptune, Blackbeard the pirate and 2011 Maine Sea Goddess Kristen Margaret Sawyer arrived with the help of the U.S. Coast Guard to kick off the 65th annual Maine Lobster Festival Aug. 1 at the Rockland Public Landing.
While many were busy taking pictures of the arriving entourage from the "briny deep," the main event in the minds of those who traveled thousands of miles to be here was still the lobster dinner being served. The lobster festival began at noon. Among the first in line were Jackie and Chuck Steinmetz of San Antonio, Texas, who ate three lobsters each for lunch.
"We were here last year, and we were disappointed that we only ate two at a time," Chuck said. They remedied that, and he promises to be back for more lobster come suppertime.
"Food for the gods," his wife, Jackie, added as the pile of shells before her grew.
They said lobster is absolutely their favorite food and it's just not the same in San Antonio as it is in Rockland.
Meanwhile, on the main stage, the 18 hopeful Sea Princesses vying for the 2012 Sea Goddess crown were busy rehearsing the coronation ceremony planned for later that evening. Rockland City Councilor Eric Hebert, serving as emcee, joined executive committee member Sharon Lombardo on the stage, organizing the rehearsal. Crew members from the visiting USS San Antonio escorted the Sea Princesses onstage.
Chris Blum of Rockland played "Taps" on his bugle in honor of the visiting military members. He said he was once part of the Drum & Bugle Corps in the U.S. Air Force and had previously played the bugle in the Boy Scouts.
Shayna Cohen of Hope sang "God Bless America" with Alex Wilder accompanying on the keyboard.
U.S. Navy personnel could be seen all over the festival grounds and spilling out onto Main Street in Rockland.
In addition to lobster, vendors on the grounds sold a large variety of other food items, while other vendors offered crafts, artwork, jewelry, novelty items and T-shirts.
A variety of media outlets — print, broadcast and Internet — covered the event. Smokey's Greater Shows provided rides including a massive Ferris wheel that now overlooks the city.