AUBURN — Mainers and visitors enjoyed a first taste of summer Saturday at the second Auburn Lobster Festival in Festival Plaza.

The 2021 April Fool’s Day joke turned serious community event was themed “Lobsters in Paradise” with a lobster dinner hosted by the Auburn Exchange Club. Festivalgoers also enjoyed food from seven food trucks and six breweries.

Providing entertainment were three music acts including the debut of Gary Roland and The Landsharks, a Jimmy Buffett tribute band. Brian & Jen and The Smith Collaboration kicked off the event.

The Lobster Institute provided a hands-on experience of Maine aquatic life with two lobsters, male and female, and a wealth of knowledge about how they’re born, how they live and their journey to the table. The activity was popular for kids and adults alike, said Lobster Institute Executive Director Chris Cash.

Madison Hamner, 10, holds a lobster Saturday as her little brother, Aiden, and stepmother, Maggie, watch during the Auburn Lobster Festival in Festival Plaza. The lobsters were part of an exhibit brought to the festival by The Lobster Institute, a University of Maine project that aims to research and promote the sustainability of the species amid changing environments. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Cash said a festival in Auburn is perfect because inland folks don’t often get the lobster and lobster festival experience.

“I love that it started as a joke and now it’s become so popular and people want to keep it going. It makes a lot of sense, really.”


Andrea and Mark Cellini of Abington, Massachusetts, are staying at their summer place in Sabattus, as they have for the past four years. Having enjoyed Maine’s spring and summer months on the southern Maine coast for far longer, when they saw Auburn was putting on its May festival they knew they had to come out for the eats.

“I mean, you’ve got seafood and a band playing right in front of you,” Andrea Cellini said, asking how anyone could ask for more.

The rest is an added bonus, Mark Cellini said as musical act Brian & Jen gave way to The Smith Collaboration.

Asked what they thought of Auburn’s rather unorthodox festival located over a half-hour from the coast, the Cellinis said it isn’t even a little bit weird.

“We’ll take the lobster anywhere,” she said.

David Muise and his son, Silas, of Poland work on extracting the meat from a lobster Saturday during the Auburn Lobster Festival in Festival Plaza. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

David Muise and his son, Silas, came from Poland for a father-and-son day out. Between bites of lobster, David Muise said he was splitting his meal with his son who has phenylketonuria, a condition that necessitates limited or no intake of proteins.

“Maybe when I get older,” Silas said when asked if he tried the lobster, “but I want to stay healthy.”

So, while dad was chowing down on the lobster and clams, Silas was digging into the corn and potatoes and both were enjoying the cool, festive afternoon.

“It feels like, especially with the weather we’re having, it’s a great way to kick off summer,” David Muise said. “It certainly feels like it.”

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