ROCKLAND, Maine — The Maine Lobster Festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Rockland during the first week of August.
But festival officials realize that could not be achieved without the help of thousands of volunteers. And to recognize that service, the festival has scheduled a Volunteer Appreciation Rally from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at Harbor Park in Rockland.
“We couldn’t run the festival without the volunteers,” said Brian Plourde, a director of the festival.
The rally is also a way to recruit new volunteers, Plourde said. Anyone who has volunteered or plans to become a volunteer this summer may attend the rally. There will be free burgers, hot dogs, chips, water and desserts.
Much of the food is donated by local businesses, including Hannaford, Country Kitchen and Frito-Lay.
Festival organizers urge past volunteers to wear their volunteer T-shirts. There will be prizes given away to people wearing the oldest volunteer T-shirt, along with the person with the greatest number of T-shirts from different years.
All the proceeds received by the festival either go toward getting ready for the following year’s event, or is given back to the community, Plourde said.
This past year, the festival gave Regional School Unit 13 in Rockland $25,000 for a new curtain for the auditorium, and money for new uniforms for junior varsity and freshmen teams because of the consolidation to Oceanside High School.
Another $10,000 was given in the past year to the Camden First Aid Association, and earlier, $32,000 for work to the Rockland Recreation Center.
Plourde said the festival is an economic boom to the Rockland area with lodging businesses filled during that week and restaurants and shops receiving more customers with the influx of visitors.