Lobster Bash was bigger than last year, but not as big as it would have been, says the association president Phil Robertson.
“We had a little wind and a bit of rain and I’m sure it brought down attendance and participation in some of the events,” said Robertson a couple days after the Bash. “I know some people couldn’t make it – I had phone calls from vendors who said they wanted to be here but they couldn’t get the gas to get here – but the people that were here, they had a good time.”
[Karla Kelly's photoessay from Lobster Bash 2014]
The association sold chowder and rolls all weekend and couldn’t have sold anymore he says.
“People ate a lot of lobster and that’s our goal,” said Robertson. “To get people hooked, to let them eat it economically so they consider it adding it to their menu at least once a week.”
The kitchen party Friday went well.
“We’re real happy with that,” he said. “That weekend it’s the place to be in Digby for a real Nova Scotian style kitchen party.”
Saturday morning started bright and almost sunny and it looked a bit silly to be indoors at the rink.
“Just until the runners in the Mud Dash were nearing the finish line and then the weather turned real nasty,” said Robertson.
And then the power went out. And then cell service went down.
Still attendance in the rink was okay.
“It was smaller than if we were downtown on sunny Saturday afternoon but there were always people coming and going,” said Robertson. “There weren’t many place to find food to eat that day but we had generators and we had hot chowder and lobster rolls and a few lights.”
The power went out just as the big celebrities hired by the association, Rick and Kelly Dale, were supposed to be meeting people and signing autographs.
So the association set them up by the rink’s glass doors in the natural light.
“They are very easy to talk to, very kind, very compassionate people,” said Robertson. “They took time out for others and gave of themselves in ways most celebrities just don’t do.”
The fireworks exceeded his expectations as well.
“Last year the show was seven minutes long and this year I asked Glenn to set it all off in five minutes,” he said. “It had to be most incredible firework show I’ve ever seen in Digby, ever.”
Robertson says they made enough money to pay this year’s bills and put a little aside to get started next year.
“If the weather had been good, we’d have done better but we’re happy and we were happy to have the community behind us,” he said. “Saturday it seems people were happy to have us around.”
He knows the festival was a success based on the most important measurement.
“I saw a lot of smiles and the people I talked to were happy,” he said. “I know it was stressful for everyone with a tropical storm and the power out. I know a few things didn’t happen right exactly on time, but very few events were actually cancelled and all in all, the people that were here, they had a good time.”
He says there was no talk of quitting.
“This bunch we have running this thing, the directors and the volunteers are incredible, they’re a pretty rugged bunch,” he said. “If an obstacle jumps in the way, kick it aside and keep on going. It would have been so easy to cancel but then people would have been disappointed.
“They told me it doesn’t matter what they throw at us now, we’re having a Lobster Bash,” he said. “So we did.”
Robertson says the flood of positive feedback is making it easy to start working on next year. But first, he wants just a couple weeks off.
“We’re going to enjoy what’s left of the summer, and you know, my wife and I haven’t had a vacation, a real vacation, since 1984.
“It’s time,” he said.