14th annual trap tree assembly is complete

Festival of Lights Nov. 24-25
By Beth A. Birmingham | Nov 16, 2017
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Members of the local Coast Guard Station and Bolduc Correctional Facility work to secure the lobster atop the Lobster Trap Tree in Rockland Nov. 15.

Rockland — Amid horns blowing and passersby stopping for a photo, the Lobster Trap Tree took shape Nov. 15 in Mildred Merrill Park in Rockland -- a sure sign of holiday things to come.

Members of Rockland Main Street Inc., Rockland Coast Guard, Bolduc Correctional Facility and various community volunteers assembled the traditional tree using 154 traps, 125 buoys, 480 feet of garland entwined with 2,500 twinkle lights, and a plethora of zip ties.

A major sponsor of the event is Island Institute, according to Rockland Main Street Executive Director Gordon Page.

The structure stands 40 feet high, after the 5-foot-tall fiberglass lobster is secured at the top of the traps. The lobster is donated each year by Liberty Hospitality of Maine and the Liberty family at the Trade Winds Motor Inn.

This year was the first time in 14 years that a man lift was used to get the specially-made lobster traps in place. Last year was the first year the fiberglass lobster was placed atop the tree using the lift, which was donated by Journey's End Marina again.

At the same time as the trap tree construction, inmates from Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren were busy putting up more than 125 wreaths along Main and Park streets, with the help of Rockland Public Works crews.

Brooks Trap Mill of Thomaston builds the lobster traps specially for the annual event and donates a portion of the traps for use, and then Rockland Main Street Inc. purchases the rest of them for its annual lobster trap raffle.

Two sets of 50 traps will be available in the raffle, with tickets sold at $50 each. Only 500 tickets will be sold, available at Brooks Trap Mill, Hamilton Marine, Camden National Bank, Rockland Savings Bank and The First. Raffle winners also have the option to take a cash prize alternative equal to $2,250.

The buoys used to decorate the tree are donated by local fishermen and -women.

Santa Claus arrives by Coast Guard boat at Buoy Park (the middle pier) at noon Friday, Nov. 24. And from 12:30 to 3 p.m., he will greet children at his workshop in Mildred Merrill Park.

Free horse-drawn wagon rides will be available, with pickup near Rustica across from Rock City for a ride around downtown.

The tree will be illuminated Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. during the annual Festival of Lights, with Santa Claus throwing the switch with the help of some other special guests.

A complete schedule of events for the three days is online at rocklandmainstreet.com.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Rockland Main Street Executive Director Gordon Page, right, looks on as the annual Lobster Trap Tree is assembled. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
This year a lift was used not only to boost the huge fiberglass lobster to the top of the Lobster Trap Tree, but also to assist in adding the specially made traps to the construction. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
The sun glistens inside the Lobster Trap Tree. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Erik Tozier works at securing one of many wreaths along Main Street in Rockland Nov. 15. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Buoys are secured to the Lobster Trap Tree in Rockland Nov. 15. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
All secured at the top of the 2017 Lobster Trap Tree, the famous fiberglas crustacean appears to be demanding a little ray of light Nov. 15. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Lydia Rockefeller, right, and dad Charles watch as the Lobster Trap Tree is constructed Nov. 15 in Rockland's Mildred Merrill Park. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Volunteers from Rockland Coast Guard and Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren helped assemble the trap tree in Mildred Merrill Park Nov. 15. (Courtesy of: Gordon Page)
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