Looking for Lobster Seafood Festivals
Hampton Beach, NH has its annual Seafood Festival (http://www.hamptonchamber.com/seafood...) the weekend after Labor Day as a way to celebrate the end of tourist season. Interestingly enough, it's usually BUSIER that weekend than most during the summer...!
It's not strictly lobster, but you can get steamed and boiled lobster from a few vendors, plus clam chowda (a lot of vendors serve it in bread bowls). There is also food for the non-seafood lover like ribs, kabobs, chicken, desserts. There are fireworks on Saturday night (they close off a lot of the beach for a few hours before the fireworks begin). For those seeking libations, there's a "beer tent" with lots of seating (over 21 with wrist band or need to be with a parent to enter the tent).
You can easily get into the festival for "free" (avoiding the people selling admission wrist bands), but you need a wrist band to get into the Beer Tent or attend any of the "shows." Admission is only $5/adult (under 12, free) or $8/adult for Saturday and Sunday. Friday evening is free to all.
This event is always very well attended--according to the web site, over 150,000 people! Lots of vendors in the food tents, and there are other souvenir and crafts vendors as well. The area restaurants also do a good business that weekend; having drinks on the rooftops overlooking the beach and the throngs of people on Ocean Avenue is always fun if you wish to avoid the crowding of the food and beer tents.
There's the Charlestown Seafood Festival in Charlestown, RI the first weekend in August. Website is http://www.charlestownrichamber.com/s.... Lots of seafood to choose from and some great local lobsters.
Can also highly recommend the Oyster Festival Concert Series on Block Island, as okra suggested, if oysters are your thing. Went a couple of years ago when Little Feat headlined and it was great fun, even with a couple of little kids in tow. No lobster, though.
The Charlestown festival is the best large event in RI. Also, there are many small local festivals and public clambakes with lobster. One unique, although expensive, event is the Rose Island Lighthouse festival, complete with boat trip to the island: http://www.roseislandlighthouse.org/. The South County Blessing of the Fleet is accompanied by a Seafood Festival at Memorial Park where you can get full lobster dinners, raw seafood, etc: http://www.narragansettri.com/lions/race/blessingpg1.htm
Block Island, RI...Oyster Festival Summer Concert Series
at the Spring House Hotel, July 22nd...12 pm
Band: BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet !! ;)
Bring your chair and enjoy the music on the lawn of the Spring House. Food & beverage available.
Yarmouth Clam Festival, Yarmouth ME, July 20-22: http://www.clamfestival.com/home.php
Great small town festival with a good juried crafts fair and a variety of food booths from pretty much every civic group in town. The clams are soft-shelled clams, probably the sweetest instance of this clam you will find anywhere. One group usually sells a shore dinner which includes both a lobster and a pound of clams. We stumbled into this festival one year and have been back several times.
Rockland Lobster Festival, Rockland, ME August 1-5
Far less of a small town feel than the Yarmouth festival, but lobster abounds. The town has a decent Wyeth collection. It may be too late to snare a good one, but the region is chock full of reasonably priced weekly rentals and B&Bs.
I stopped in to the Yarmouth Clam Festival - small town charm - awful carnival midway - a lot of what you might expect.
But I was VERY disappointed from a chow perspective - not a single raw shucked clam to be found! I thought for sure an authentic Maine clam fest would include tons of clams on the halfshell (and a clam shucking contest?). My, was I wrong. The name is really a misnomer. It should be called the fried clam festival. (There were steamed clams too, from one or possibly two vendors.) Note that it appears to be all local folks doing the cooking and proceeds appear to benefit the sponsor of each booth.
Maybe you fare better with the shore dinner, but in terms of fried clams, the smell of old oil as we walked by the vendors mid-late afternoon was sort of a turn-off. Clearly the key to enjoying the fried clams (and other fried items) is "Go for lunch."
Ponied up for a lobster roll - $9 got you a pre-made lobster roll out of the fridge - a plain hot dog bun with a good amount of undressed, cold lobster meat. But had to walk around with it for a few minutes to let it warm up. Bread was sort of damp - sort of effected the overall eating.
But while I was eating and thinking of a way to solve my cold, damp bun problem, I hit upon an idea that would really jazz up the clam festival - Take this cold, listless lobster roll and deep fry it! They can deep-fry twinkees, etc. - Yarmouth, if you are listening, convince someone to load the thin cheap hot dog buns with lobster meat, batter it and deep-fry it!