Did someone say lobster? The mere mention of the delicious crustacean sets many mouths to watering and many bellies to rumbling.
Besides being a highly-desired food item, the lobster industry is also a pillar of the South Shore economy; so it was with these two key elements in mind that the first Lobster Crawl was launched in 2018 with great success. Now, organizers are gearing up for the second festival coming next month.
Donna Hatt, chair of the South Shore Tourism Cooperative (SSTC) and marketing and product development manager at White Point Beach Resort, explains the South Shore Lobster Crawl is a festival created, organized and championed by SSTC with partners up and down the South Shore.
As one of three co-chairs of the event, Hatt is joined by Suzy Atwood, tourism coordinator for the Municipality of Barrington, and Angela Steeves, general manager at Oak Island Resort, in organizing the event again in 2019.
She says they are joined by a team of folks from businesses and organizations along the South Shore, including nine of the 11 municipalities as partners in the Cooperative.
In explaining how the festival came about, Hatt says, “Travellers to Nova Scotia love lobster, but it’s not lobster season in the summer when the majority of guests come to Nova Scotia. The South Shore lobster — and perhaps the best tasting lobster — is actually the winter season lobster, from the coldest waters of the year. It is enjoyed from Dumping Day (the last Monday of November) until May 3.”
Additionally, Hatt points out, the South Shore is home to the Lobster Capital of Canada — Barrington — and winters on the South Shore offer an incredible array of experiences.
“The Lobster Crawl gives us a chance to celebrate our lobster fishing industry, our winter experience and it also lets travellers know that November to May are great months to visit the South Shore, and Nova Scotia. We are open and have so much to enjoy — pounding ocean surf, beaches to stroll, art and craft shops to explore, and lots of lobster to eat, fresh from the ocean.”
Basically, Hatt explains, the objectives of Lobster Crawl are to celebrate winter in Nova Scotia, and to bring guests closer to more of what they want — fun in the winter and lobster.
She says this year’s festival, running from Feb. 1-18, is bursting with more than 100 savoury events and experiences.
“I just shocked myself with that tally,” Hatt chuckles. “Lobster lovers will be rejoicing when they get a look at this incredible crustacean celebration.”
Nearly 20 restaurants are serving up their twist on the traditional lobster roll to whet the appetite of guests and on Feb. 3, one will be crowned the 2019 Best Lobster Roll at the “Roll-off” at White Point, she explains.
“After going viral last year, Lucy the Lobster is preparing for her big day to offer her forecast for spring’s arrival on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2 at 8 a.m., live from Barrington, the Lobster Capital of Canada,” she says. “Lucy will be crawling out of the ocean in search of her shadow like her comrades, the groundhogs do. This’ll kick off Lobster Day in Barrington, filled with tours of a lobster plant, lobster dinners, art shows and workshops.”
Cathie Pincombe, White Point Gift Shop manager, has also brought a new event to this year’s Lobster Crawl.
“Back in December, I asked the White Point family of artists to help honour our lobster fishing industry and to be part of the ‘Year of the Lobster,’” Pincombe explains.
The first art event is the lobs’ART Show, Feb.1-10 at White Point.
“As with all the events I organize featuring our artists they responded with amazing enthusiasm for the theme. There are 25-plus artists (more keep wanting to join in) working diligently in their own mediums to produce new and exciting pieces dedicated to the lobster industry,” she explains.
The types of artwork that will be on display include folk art, original paintings in water colour and acrylic, lobsters carved with a chain saw, hand-felted and hand-woven pieces. Creations from recycled fishing rope, airbrushed pictures, metals sculptures, sandblasted glass, pictures made from treasures found on the beach and even lobsters made of chocolate will be featured.
The show is open 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily and everyone is welcome. There is no charge to drop by to enjoy the art and perhaps take home an original work to treasure.
Throughout the South Shore there is an impressive celebration of the lobster fishing industry, heritage and culture. There are two-dozen lobster-infused sip and savour dining experiences in restaurants from Barrington to Peggy’s Cove, a list that has nearly doubled since last year.
“You can literally chart your course for lobster for every meal of the day, if you wanted to,” Hatt says.
This year, artists have rallied around the festival with dozens of art shows and workshops while sporting enthusiasts are invited to curl, surf, cycle and crawl. There’s music hitting stages up and down the coast, and 13 lobster getaway packages so you can sip, savour and stay.
“We’re definitely open for business on the South Shore. There are only three seasons around here — summer, fall and lobster, November to May annually,” she says. “There really is something for everyone, even more so this year — we’ve nearly doubled the number of events, welcoming businesses that are open year-round, as well as those opening just for the festival.”
In 2018, Hatt explains, businesses and organizations reported spikes in visitation and demand for lobster and she adds, “we intend to repeat and grow!”
She describes Lobster Crawl as a cornerstone of the SSTC winter strategy to positively impact the economy and celebrate our community, strengthening Nova Scotia’s appeal as a winter tourism destination.
“The South Shore is open for business, there are flights and highways that lead to us . . . we’re heating things up, cooking lots’a lobster and pairing it with Lobster Beer again this year. Crawl a’board for Nova Scotia’s South Shore Lobster Crawl!”
For a complete list of events and activities, got to www.LobsterCrawl.ca