When an event promotes a “Lobster-Palooza” theme, you know there’s going to be a lot of lobster there. But you might need some perspective about what “a lot” of lobster really looks like if you haven’t been to Rockland during the Maine Lobster Festival.

Organizers expect to serve as much lobster as they did last year. That was more than 20,000 pounds of crustaceans.

“What’s really cool about eating lobster on the waterfront is the view across the harbor. You can see them unloading the fresh lobsters we’re serving at the festival,” said Chuck Kruger, entertainment director for the Maine Lobster Festival.

According to Kruger, facilities in the main tent have the ability to cook up to 700 pounds of lobster an hour.

“This is the shortest distance from habitat to stomach you can get,” he said. “You can’t get fresher than this.”

The Maine Lobster Festival is a five-day affair that kicks off Wednesday night with the Maine Sea Goddess coronation.

Kruger said this is not a beauty pageant. There are five finalists interviewed by judges, and the winner will be chosen based on knowledge of coastal Maine, the seafood industry and achievements in high school. Added to the mix will be King Neptune and his court.

There is no admission fee for the festival on Wednesday, which includes live music by the Bay Winds brass ensemble, the folk/blues band Paddy Mills and the rock band Chaos Sauce.

The festival will offer live music daily, from a variety of headline performers to well-known local musicians.

Thursday night’s performance by Changes in Latitudes, a Jimmy Buffett tribute band, is included in the daily admission fee ($8). Friday’s contemporary country band, Emerson Drive, and Saturday night’s performance by Uncle Kracker both have an additional fee. Tickets should be purchased in advance on the festival’s website, www.mainelobsterfestival.com.

Children will have some of their own special events, including a costume parade on Friday. The festival also will host a children’s tent each day and offer a kid-specific lobster eating contest, codfish carry and diaper derby.

There will be a marine tent as well that will offer kid-friendly displays but is really geared for all ages to learn about the Gulf of Maine and its inhabitants.

On Friday, amateur cooks get a chance to get their unique seafood recipes judged (usually they include lobster) for a chance to win cash prizes. Participants cook and talk about their dishes before judging time. Judges delve in at 11 a.m., with a winner announced at 12:30 p.m.

Kruger offered an insider tip about this event all foodies will appreciate: “There are free samples available for tasting after the judging.”

The big parade down Rockland’s Main Street begins at 10 a.m. Saturday. The theme for this year’s parade is “Lobster-Palooza.” The parade includes marching bands, floats, drill teams, mini lobster boats and other vehicles, and the newly crowned Sea Goddess and her court.

A 10K road race will be held Sunday at 8:30 a.m. Participants can register online or on race day starting at 7 a.m. New this year is a Barefoot Runners Division, with prizes awarded to the first male and female finishers. Also new this year is a 5K walk (not timed) at Harbor Park. That race also starts at 8:30 a.m. A 1-mile kids’ fun run begins at 7:30 a.m.

The lobster crate race — it’s a Sunday event — attracts lots of spectators. Contestants run across partially submerged lobster crates. The winner is the one who can run over the most crates before falling into the ocean.

“Sunday afternoon is a huge deal, because it is one of the festival’s original events. We’ve had people run across more than 3,000 crates before they fall in,” Kruger said. “But most people only get past six or eight of them before they make a spectacular splash. Usually a young person with a slight build flies across these things and wins.”

Carnival rides and a large Ferris wheel — to appreciate the harbor from a bird’s-eye view — will be set up. There also will be a fine-arts tent hosting local artists’ work, and a Maine crafters tent that will include local handmade items from pottery to fudge.

If these aren’t compelling enough reasons to attend the festival, here’s another: The event, which has an $8 daily admission fee, is run by a nonprofit organization that raises money for others.

“We have over 1,000 volunteers run the festival every year,” Kruger said. “A lot of them give a week’s vacation to work the festival. There are no paid staff, and all of the proceeds from the festival benefit local community charities and nonprofits.”

Staff Writer Wendy Almeida can be contacted at 791-6334 or at:

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