Keep Summer Going, With Saturday’s Lobsterfest

Just when you think all the fun summer stuff — cookouts, clambakes, beach parties — is over, up pops the Lobsterfest.

Sponsored by Westport Rotary, it’s become a last-gasp-of-the-season tradition. The’s 6th annual event — set for this Saturday (September 16, 3 to 7 p.m.) — includes food hundreds of folks love: a choice of 2 humongous lobsters or a 14-ounce strip steak, plus all the fixings.

It’s a block party without the block. Instead, over 1,000 people fill Compo Beach. It’s a fantastic way to catch up with those you haven’t seen since the last Lobsterfest, and meet newcomers too.

Thanks to volunteer efforts of the noontime and Sunrise Rotaries, and organizations like Staples’ Service League of Boys, National Charity League and Builders Beyond Borders, the event raises an enormous amount of money. It’s promptly redistributed to local, regional and international service agencies.

Rick Benson — shown here in costume — started the Westport Rotary Lobsterfest in 2012.

But this year’s Lobsterfest has some special wrinkles too.

There’s a new first platinum sponsor — the Shoreline Group from Morgan Stanley — and new gold sponsor (Melissa & Doug).

There’s a new band: Oh Cassius! (the exclamation point is part of their name!).

Craft beer is provided by 5 Connecticut breweries, along with a new selection of wines courtesy of Westport Wine & Spirits. Donations were arranged by Alex Cohen, Rotary Club member and his fellow Staples High grad, Casey Dohme, owner of the Blind Rhino bar in Norwalk.

The cash raw bar is enhanced with local Hummock Island oysters, and — for the first time — shrimp cocktail. Professional oyster shuckers will be on hand too.

After last year’s event, not much remained of the 3,000 lobsters.

A tasting tent should entice lovers of McCallan single malt scotch and specialty cocktails.

Kids can enjoy new entertainment, and meals from Joey’s by the Shore — with kids’ serving trays.

As always, Lobsterfest goes on rain or shine (to-go boxes are available). Tickets must be purchased in advance, from Rotarians, at Joey’s, or online here.

Get your bib on!

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