AUBURN — The promise of seafood, as well as local drinks, entertainment and other Maine staple foods, made the city on the Androscoggin River as desirable a location as any coastal town to experience “the way life should be.” The first ever Auburn Lobster Festival drew about 3,000 visitors by 6 p.m. Saturday, according to city officials.

Lobster dinners were prepared by the Auburn Exchange Club and entertainment was put on by musical acts Michael Corleto, David Young & The Interstate Kings with Ashton Butler, and Maine favorite, Skosh. Food trucks included Roaming Eats, Ye Olde Fish & Chips and L/A Taco, and breweries included Lost Valley Brewing Co., Side By Each Brewing Co., Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Co., Geary Brewing Co., Craft Brew Underground, Mason’s Brewing Co. and Nonesuch River Brewing.

The festival also featured a buoy decoration contest which earned $1,600, half of which will go to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and the other half awarded in a random drawing.

The event, which may become a perennial tradition, started as an April Fool’s joke over social media in 2021. While city officials laughed in the background, the post became viral around New England with a collective “Is this for real?” But the joke was on them once people started encouraging the city to actually hold the event.

Quirky as it may seem to hold a lobster festival in Auburn, Mayor Jason Levesque said it makes sense if you think about it. Coastal towns cannot be “shellfish” and claim exclusive rights to Maine culture and identity, especially since inland destinations support the lobster industry as much as rely on it, he said.

“And we’re not far inland. We’re actually pretty darn close,” Levesque said. “Closer than you’d think to everything: the ocean, the mountains, Portland. Auburn really is the hub of Maine.”


Locals and visitors alike shared they had nothing to complain about coming out for fun and food. Plymouth, Massachusetts, residents Tim and Joline Kelley spend time every year in Raymond and decided to make the trip to enjoy Maine’s greatest delicacy — a lobster festival in Auburn is “not a problem at all,” Tim laughed — and to visit Joline’s old stomping grounds.

“My sister and I grew up here,” Joline said. “We saw this and decided we had to come. It seems to be very successful, and I suspect this won’t be the only annual event.

“We once had Maine lobster served as an appetizer in Jamaica, but — Maine lobster is Maine lobster no matter where you are.”

Karina and Sarah Shaffer were talking over finished lobster dinners while Michael Corleto and David Young & The Interstate Kings with Ashton Butler switched. The Shaffers were visiting from Warren County, New Jersey. while Karina had not been to Maine in about 25 years, and Sarah was on her first ever visit.

“We’re really enjoying ourselves,” said Karina Shaffer.

“I really like it,” said Sarah Shaffer glancing back to her tray. “It’s so good.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.