ROCKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The sun eventually emerged on Penobscot Bay on Thursday, at least in Rockland. And that was just in time for the lunchtime crowd at the Maine Lobster Festival. The 57th annual festival opened Wednesday, and battled fog much of that day. Fog shrouded the harbor again Thursday morning, but burned off to provide at least a partial view of Rockland harbor. And fog or no fog, tourists and local lobster lovers still showed up. By late morning, the giant lobster cooker was steaming, and festival-goers were happily lining up for lunch. Festival managers and visitors agreed that Maine lobster, fresh from the ocean, is the irresistible attraction that brings so many people to the event each year.
"The distance from the trap to the plate is almost Infinitesimal," says festival President Chuck Kruger. "It's almost like going out to your garden and picking a tomato and eating it. "
Tourists also said the chance to have freshly caught lobster, right next to the harbor, was what lured them to the festival. In some years, the event has attracted as many as 100,000 people over the five days.
This year's event also attracted a TV production company from Los Angeles that is hoping to produce a food series for a major cable TV channel. The TV crew took over and expanded the lobster cooking competition. Three local chefs were the judges, including "207" regular Lynn Archer, who owns two restaurants in Rockland. Archer tells NEWS CENTER that the cooks, just like other festival-goers, can't get enough local lobster: "...and they said Oh, where we get it, it doesn't taste like this, or it isn't as sweet as that or not as tender." The chef says she agrees that fresh lobster, under the tent and beside the harbor is a tough treat to beat, and the major reason for the festival's continuing success.
The festival continues through Sunday, with music at night, and more lobster.