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Festival changes draw volunteers, veterans, visitors

By Beth A. Birmingham | Aug 06, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Photographs of veterans are carried down Main Street as part of the Big Parade Aug. 3. The photographs are images of the memorial at the American Legion grounds. This year's parade had more than 50 veterans participate as grand marshals.

Rockland — With the 72nd Maine Lobster Festival having closed, the Board of Directors is seeking additional feedback on how to further improve and evolve the event.

This year's changes included a different carnival vendor, local entertainment and many new amenities for volunteers.

Festival President Celia Knight said the free admission for the whole event for volunteers working a single four-hour shift, along with 50 percent off food, helped.

"We had great support from volunteers this year. Last year we had a lot not show up after the incident," Knight said. "That didn't happen much at all this year."

She said the veterans loved being honored at the Big Parade, which included veterans from a variety of service backgrounds.

Knight reported there were 55,000 admissions sold and more than 19,400 pounds of lobster consumed.

The Great Crate Race was well attended and there were more than 100 additional runners in the two road races held Aug. 4.

Festivities began July 31 with King Neptune and his court, along with 2018 Sea Goddess Erin Dugan, arriving via Coast Guard vessel to open this year's Maine Lobster Festival. That evening, Makaila Hickey of Rockland was crowned this year's Sea Goddess, while Meghan Keizer of Port Clyde and Kathrine Simoneau of Thomaston were named Crown Princess and Miss Congeniality, respectively.

The Amateur Seafood Cooking Contest took place Aug. 2, with Sue Jobes of South Carolina winning with her recipe for lobster and scallop corn chowder and jalapeno cornbread.

The Big Parade -- themed "Community ... at the heart of it all" -- featured veterans of all ages from various branches of service as grand marshals, and several commercial floats and community bands.

Good weather continued throughout the five-day event.

"There were no incidents," Knight remarked. "It was definitely successful, and the Board of Directors was very, very pleased with the event."

Next year's festivities will take place July 29 through Aug. 2.

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

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Comments (6)
Posted by: Knight Marine Service | Aug 07, 2019 09:36

Feel free to contact me (Celia Knight-President) with any feedback at  Thank you all for coming to our Festival!!!

Posted by: Dana Burton | Aug 07, 2019 06:58

who do we contact.....

Posted by: Dennis Corkum | Aug 06, 2019 16:07

They could do a better job cleaning up the litter.  Went to Harbor Park the day after the Blues Festival and it was spic and span.  Today is Tues and there is still litter everywhere.  If you are going to use the park, clean up, don't just "eat and run"!

Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | Aug 06, 2019 13:02

Celia, Thanks to you and all the directors for making this year the year of the Veteran.  Very well done, well received and know that the Vets who participated enjoyed the many Thank yous and applause for them.  Is there an estimate on how many Veterans participated?    Thanks.

Posted by: Mary Perry | Aug 06, 2019 12:12

The food tent seating needs to be expanded. I viewed a waiting line nearly up to the Time Out Pub and no available seats left in the food tent. It's a shame our Maine politicians could not arrange a US Naval vessel to visit one of Maine's largest summer events. I understand a vessel is requested soon after the event ends each year. Follow-up should not be overlooked. Perhaps a Navy liaison person could be recruited to handle this important task. Many people mention the best part of the parade is the sailors marching. How could I disagree with them being a retired sailor myself? The income to the city and the Festival is another reason to have the Navy visit. The sailors who come ashore eat and purchase items from local stores, not to mention what a great recruiting tool this is for young people with no academic future in store. I was a Navy Recruiter in Rockland during 1968-1970 and can tell you the enlistment quota was always met in August and September, perhaps due to the exposure to Navy life and the PR the Navy brought to the area. Please consider these suggestions from an old retired Navy Chief, who by the way, carried the previous years Queens and King Neptune on the back of my 1957 Chevy convertible for five years running while still on active duty with the US Navy. Respectfully, Ben Perry MMC USN Retired

Posted by: Ananur Forma | Aug 06, 2019 11:25

yes, have some specific feedback. who do I speak with?

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