ROCKLAND—The 75th Maine Lobster Festival is underway and there is so much to see and do this year. Culturally, the Festival is covering all bases with live music all day and night, an Arts and Crafts and Marketplace Tent, cooking demonstrations in the North Entertainment Tent, a Maine Heritage Tent, and even a Pirate Tavern. With no admission charge, it’s worth checking out all of the tents this weekend.
I happened to be in The Marine Experience Tent on Friday along with other exhibitors ranging from Maine authors and artists to a Lobster Touch Tank.
Author Ali Farell has illuminated the lobstering life in her fiction and nonfiction books.
“I’ve met so many nice people this week, so many people who’ve never even seen the ocean before,” she said.
Local lobsterman legend Virginia Oliver, a.k.a. “The Lobster Lady” is 102 years old and still lobster fishing. Oliver is one of the subjects featured in Farrell’s book Pretty Rugged about female lobstermen.
“She’s a celebrity,” said Farrell. “Everyone has seen her on TV and thinks she’s amazing—and she is!”
C. L. Alden, another local author, had posters of her books on display.
“Most of my books are inspired by the Midcoast area, so a lot of the places in the books will be recognizable,” she said. “Some names have been changed, but for example, in my book Empire is actually The Strand Theatre.”
Alden, who has been to the Maine Lobster Festival for four years noticed a bigger crowd this year.
“The crowd looks great,” she said.” I feel there are a lot of people from away this year and everybody gets excited about Maine stories. They see these quaint, New England towns, something they don’t see at home.”
Kathy Putzulu is the creator of With The Grain Woodworks, featuring scroll-sawed artwork with a lobster piece perfectly fit into a cut-out of the state of Maine shape.
Cynthia Dean, co-creator of “Paint It Shoreself Ceramics” had nautical and lobster-themed ceramics at her table, which can be hand-painted.
Two authors, Claire Ackroyd and Robert W. Spencer, representing the hybrid publishing company, Maine Authors Publishing, were manning a table with nearly 50 books from Maine authors on display.
Ackroyd, author Murder in the Maple Woods, said of her book, “It’s fiction, but the setting is real, giving you an authentic view of the processing of maple syrup production.”
At the back of the tent, MLF volunteer Aiden Willis, 13, in charge of The Lobster Touch Tank, identified various locally caught sea creatures in the tank holding them up to curious visitors, including live Maine lobsters, starfish, sea cucumbers, scallops, and crabs.
“I grew up on the water, so I have no problem touching any of these,” he said of the creatures. “I get to feel like an expert for the day.”
Note: various authors and makers appeared in the Maine Entertainment Tent all week and not everyone was profiled in this story.
The Maine Lobster Festival continues until Sunday. For more information visit: www.mainelobsterfestival.com
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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