Organizers of the Maine Lobster Festival describe it as “Five days of feasting and fun on the fabulous coast of Maine.” They’ve got it right. With a view of the ocean and a plate of delicious food, who could ask for more?
Seafood lovers unite to delight in the flavors of lobster in all ways, including dipped in butter, rolled in a crepe, and enveloped in creamy Mac’n Cheese. Nineteen thousand pounds of lobster goes into the feast preparation annually. Other culinary specialties with a salute to Maine are steamed clams, locally grown corn on the cob, seafood chowder, and pancakes prepared with fresh Maine blueberries.
It’s not all about the food, though. The crowning of the Maine Sea Goddess is a highlight of the fest, as is The Big Parade. It’s the most popular event of the festival, with King Neptune and his court in attendance. Musical entertainment is a big feature to be enjoyed over the five days.
Watch amateur chefs compete in a cooking contest that must have seafood from Maine waters as a key ingredient. Visit the Fine Art and Craft tents where you will find talented artisans, painters, and craftspeople displaying their works of art and wares.
The Maine Lobster Festival tickets range in price from free to about $10. See the website to choose your day of attendance for lobster. Tickets can be bought at the entrance gates. Carnival bracelets are for separate purchase. Meals come at a cost as well but are a bargain.
The lovely town of Rockland is the host of the festival. It is about 65 miles south of Bangor and approximately 80 miles north of Portland, Maine. Enjoy the drive through rural areas as you approach the coast. Roads may be windy and narrow as you get closer to the ocean. Look to New England 511 for up to date information on road delays and weather news. Arrive at Rockland's Harbor Park to enjoy your feast at the Maine Lobster Festival.
Head to South Elementary School to park. From there, free shuttles run all day to and from the harbor location. If you require ADA parking, there are a few spots in town. Volunteers are more than happy to aid in the drop off of and pick up of attendees needing assistance. Golf cart transportation is also available to move people from the entrance to the festival grounds.
Public transportation is limited in Rockland. Call on a local taxi or ridesharing service for a drive from your rig to the festival areas. Alternatively, you can park at South Elementary School and take the shuttle, which runs every 30 minutes.
Camping facilities are not available at the Maine Lobster Festival, but with so much to see in Maine, driving to a campground is not an issue. The drive is always a pretty one, tempting tourists to stop along the way to enjoy ocean views.
Camp in nearby Rockport, Thomaston, or Warren, where there are several parks accessible for those with a large RV. In Camden, choose the Camden Hills State Park, where 30 miles of hiking trails await. Go fishing at Peaks-Kenny State Park, situated on a 10-mile lake, and claim a spot set amongst glacial boulders and mature trees.
Rollerblades, skateboards, and bikes are not permitted at the fest, so make a comfortable pair of shoes your priority. Walking about the grounds and perusing the wares under the craft and artisan tents is a big part of the fun. Therefore, feeling energetic is key. Some patrons will tote a second pair of shoes to give their feet a change of pace as pavement is often hard on the feet and knees.
The weather temperatures near the coast are often very pleasant. Dress in jeans and a t-shirt, and bring along a sweater for the evening. Campground clothes should be easy wash and wear. Add hooks to the shower rail in your Class A so that bathing suits and wet items can be hung to dry overnight.
Prepare in advance for your trip, and all will go much smoother. Start your list with batteries for the flashlights and the fire detector in the camper. Add toiletries, cooking utensils and pots, water hoses and clamps, and chairs for sitting around the fire. For the festival, a small bag will do to carry a water bottle. Coolers and chairs are to be left at the campsite.
Stay hydrated both at camp and at the festival. The temperatures may not be hot, but the sun’s rays can still burn. Apply sunscreen throughout the day, and when at the campground, use heavy-duty bug spray to protect against the bugs. Store your food in the proper packaging in the RV refrigerator or in a cooler stored in the shade.
The fresh Maine air means hearty appetites. Prepare a seafood-filled fish chowder after shopping for clams, scallops, and shrimp. A cast iron pot simmering over the campfire is ideal for this dish. Follow the rules of the campground in regards to restrictions due to fire limitations. Be prepared not to transport wood from one campground to another because you might carry invasive species of bugs to a new area.
Take advantage of being on the coast and sample excellent seafood while in Rockland. Choose a restaurant on the pier and enjoy a view of the rocks and rolling waves. If you are in the mood for something other than a dish from the sea, try a “farm to table” meal, Japanese sushi, or a delicious traditional pizza.
Purchase authentic Maine Lobster Festival clothing and memorabilia. Or choose an oil painting of your favorite marine scene. The food stands serve Maine favorites like fried dough. Buy a hotdog as a snack if you have room after the lobster feast. A non-profit organization, the festival gives back to the community by donating its profits to charity and local groups.
Security staff members ensure that the festival runs smoothly. Have a game plan in place in the event that family members become separated from each other. The information booth is a suggested point of meeting. Dogs are permitted to enter the gates of the festival at the discretion of the gate staff but must be kept on a short leash at all times.
Maine weather in the summer is quite pleasant. The festival takes place rain or shine, and all events should go forth as planned. Pack umbrellas, rain gear, and boots just in case. Keep in mind that ocean views are beautiful and exploration interesting on rainy days. Venture to Sebago Lake State Park for an after-rain walk lakeside or head to the ocean to look for shells.
Top up the first-aid kit with band-aids and peroxide to patch the scrapes and nicks that may occur when the kids are climbing and trekking over the ocean rocks. Other items to include are after-sun spray, antibiotic cream, gauze, tape, and scissors.