Normally, this is among the busiest weeks of the year for our news teams.

Each year in the first week of August, the Maine Lobster Festival becomes “The Main Event” in Rockland. One of our longtime staffers observed in years past that we covered the festival like it was “D-Day.”

Our pages this time of year would normally be filled with photos of people from all over the nation and the world enjoying lobster in the dining tent; local athletes running across a string of lobster crates out on the harbor, splashing down dramatically; children in fishermen’s gear holding big fish for the “cod carry;” babies crawling across the stage dressed as lobster; carnival rides and vendors; the parade making its way down Rockland’s Main Street; and the crowning of the Sea Goddess.

It used to be a tradition that the first to know who would be Sea Goddess was the editor of The Courier-Gazette, who would guard the secret as if life depended on it. The paper would be put together as always on Wednesdays for the Thursday edition. Then as soon as the coronation took place down on the festival grounds (which were right below the former location of our offices), staffers would go around the festival selling newspapers with the picture of the beaming new Sea Goddess on the cover.

It has been as much a part of our work as it has been a part of the local community.

For two years now, instead, we have had the COVID-19 pandemic, with its mix of terror and tedium, disruption and atrophy.

Since we could not have the actual festival, we thought we would devote some space in the papers this week to the topic of lobster. While it is called Lobster Appreciation Week, it is really an appreciation of the fishermen, the businesspeople, the restaurant owners, the festival volunteers and board members, and the residents. People are the point of this celebration.

Don’t get us wrong. The lobster tastes pretty good.

But it is people that make up an industry and a community, and the festival is held each year to remind us of the importance of this industry.

In accordance with the Maine Lobster Appreciation Week and peak of the lobster fishing season, the editorial staff of The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal would like to extend our deepest gratitude toward all Maine fishermen for their diligent and dedicated work.

The lobster fisherman is an iconic symbol in the area. However, the industry includes many people. Those who sell and service boats and those who provide fishing gear. In turn, dollars earned in the business help fuel all other areas of our local economy.

Fishermen for the most part come from fishing families, so it is more than a matter of business. It reaches into our local traditions, heritage, history and culture.

We would also like to thank and acknowledge the fishermen who lost their lives at sea. This career is dangerous work, and their losses have not gone unnoticed. We would ask for all readers to keep those in mind when enjoying their lobster meals this week, and, if desired, we would recommend a visit to the marker at Marshall Point Lighthouse or to the Fishermen’s Memorial stage where festival events usually take place in Rockland.

We hope you enjoy this issue and that you are ready to enjoy the festival and all of our normally scheduled coverage thereof when it returns in 2022. Like many things canceled in the past few years, we will appreciate it much more than we did before.

Whether you are a visitor or a longtime resident, we hope you have a chance to enjoy all of the delights of summer in Midcoast Maine.