ROCKLAND — David Gogel, Bert Witham, and Jennifer Fortin will serve as judges for the Maine Lobster Festival’s 2020 Maine Sea Goddess Coronation. This year’s Coronation will be held Saturday, Aug. 8, at 3 p.m., at Harbor Park in Rockland, with a rain date of August 9.
The public is welcome to attend but is encouraged to follow all social distancing guidelines, according to the Festival.
Jennifer Fortin resides in Augusta with her husband, Michael, of 24 years, and their three children, Michael J, Carmina, and Anthony.
Fortin is no stranger to pageantry having begun her journey with the Miss Maine America Scholarship Pageant in 1998 as a volunteer and judge. In 2000, she held the title of Ms. Maine All American Plus, and competed nationally, where she won the Ms. Congeniality and Photogenic Awards. In 2016, she went back to the pageant industry as a judge for Mrs. Maine America for 2 years.
Fortin decided it was time to get back on the stage in 2018 and competed for the Mrs. Maine America title as Mrs. Kennebec County. There, she won the Marriage Longevity Award and the Mrs. Congeniality Award. 2019 brought her to the Crown of America system where she competed and won the title of Crown of Maine, Elite. She is to compete virtually in the Crown of America Pageant in late July.
Fortin works for Spectrum Generations under Healthy Living for ME as the training and fidelity manager. She is a T-Trainer for the Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Suite of programs, a Master Trainer for A Matter of Balance, a Tai Chi for Arthritis and Falls Prevention Instructor, an instructor in Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance, and an instructor in EnhanceFitness.
Fortin is also an ACE-certified Group Exercise Instructor and a ZUMBA Fitness Instructor. She is an active member of the Augusta Age Friendly Committee, AARP Maine, and a community service sorority called Delta Omega Delta. She is also involved in a number of other volunteer opportunities.
Bert Witham started lobstering in Rockland harbor when he was 10 years old, becoming the fourth generation in his family to carry on the tradition. In the ‘70s, he decided to build his own wharf in Tenants Harbor and get into the wholesale lobster business. He sold the business 25 years later to Linda Bean, but continued to lobster, retiring after 60+ years of being on the water. Bert’s son Jason carries on the Witham family lobstering tradition.
“I was pleased to be asked to be a judge this year because I think it is important for the young ladies to know about lobsters and the lobster industry,” said Witham. “One of them will represent the state of Maine and lobsters are an important part of its culture.”
David Gogel is the executive director of Rockland Main Street, Inc., a local nonprofit focused on the revitalization and economic development of downtown Rockland. He was hired at the beginning of the year to lead the organization into its second decade, having previously served in senior-level positions in management consulting and advertising. Gogel lives in Rockland with his wife and two children.
"I am thrilled to be involved as a Coronation Judge this year,” said Gogel. “The Maine Lobster Festival Coronation has always been a special tradition – a way for the community to come together and promote the best aspects of our young leaders with things like volunteerism, resilience, and an independent spirit. Especially during these uncertain times, I am glad we are recognizing the hard work and commitment of these young women."
View pageant contenders here:
About the Maine Lobster Festival
The Maine Lobster Festival is five days of fun and feasting on the fabulous coast of Maine to celebrate the lobster industry. The festival attracts thousands of people to Maine’s Midcoast region and has a long tradition of giving back to the local community. The 2020 Festival has been cancelled due to COVID-19, but organizers are already planning for the 74th Festival which will be held August 4-8, 2021. For more information about the Maine Lobster Festival, visit our website at www.mainelobsterfestival.com and be sure to “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @MELobsterFest.