ROCKLAND — The Maine Lobster Festival has changed its leadership and apologized to a former Sea Goddess who was pressured to step down over social media posts.

The shakeup at the top of the board of directors was approved Tuesday.

The actions come three months after Taylor Hamlin, 18, stepped down when a year-old photo surfaced on social media in which she appeared to be holding a marijuana cigarette, and another photo showed her holding a vaping device.

Outgoing president Cynthia Powell and vice president Michelle Hannan did not seek re-election but will continue to volunteer as members on the board of directors.

Coronation Committee chair Sharon Lombardo, who had announced her retirement this year, will step down from her role with the committee. Lombardo also will continue to volunteer on the board of directors.

The officers for 2019 will be Celia Knight, president; Peter Beal, vice president; Barbara Toler, secretary; and Laurie Smith, treasurer, the board announced Wednesday.


“We have listened to our community and new leadership is just one of many changes that will come to the 2019 festival,” Knight said in a news release. “These changes come in part as a result of the 2018 Sea Goddess coronation. We ask everyone to understand that as a group of volunteers we worked as fast as we could to gather information and follow the policies and protocol that we have in place. As a board we are continuing to work together to improve.”

The board also apologized to Hamlin and her family.

“We would also like to offer our sincere apology to Taylor Hamlin and her family, as well as the community for the events that occurred at the 2018 festival. It is my hope that the new leadership team will have the support of the community to make the 2019 Maine Lobster Festival a success.”

The news release also included a statement from Hamlin.

“We appreciate that the new leadership of the festival is taking steps to make this situation right. Our family has always supported the Maine Lobster Festival, its volunteers, and everything they do to give back to the community. We look forward to the 2019 festival.”

After Hamlin stepped down, festival organizers received more than 10,000 messages, some of which officials considered threatening and led them to request extra police protection at the festival.


Members came in for more public criticism – and demands for an apology – at a board meeting in September.

The 2019 festival will be held on July 31-Aug. 4.

The Maine Lobster Festival attracts thousands of people to the midcoast.

In recent years, the festival committee has given more than $500,000 to Midcoast Regional Child Development Services, Trekkers, Meals on Wheels and many other organizations.

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