Pete Miller chopped and prepared dozens of fresh lobsters for a hungry crowd as he stood beneath a large tent at the 21st Lobsterfest in Southold.
He and more than 70 volunteers worked diligently on Saturday to serve the hundreds who braved the stormy weather to enjoy fresh lobster, steak and mussels. The Southold and Greenport Rotary Clubs expected between 800 and 900 people to attend their annual event.
“It’s hard work, but it’s very hands on,” said Southold Rotary Club member Rudy Bruer, 44. “You get to interact with the community when you’re cooking or cleaning.”
The estimated $20,000 raised from the festival will help fund local scholarships for students and will also benefit Boy Scouts troop No. 6 from Southold. Eight boy scouts and their scout leader helped the volunteers with the setup, cleanup and serving of the food at the festival.
“I like giving back to the community,” said Boy Scout Aidan Vandenburgh, 14, of Southold. “The rotary club does so much for our troop.”
Greenport Rotary Club president Eileen Solomon said Lobsterfest has grown to be a yearly town tradition similar to the Mattituck Strawberry Festival.
“We get a lot of people from out of town,” said Solomon, 56, of Mattituck. “It’s a nice family get-together.”
The festival included free face-painting for kids, a raffle and live music from North Fork band, The Wild Mangos. Most guests huddled beneath umbrellas or sought shelter under tents to avoid the frequent showers, while others chose to eat their dinner in the rain.
“It’s fun, it’s outdoors, it’s not pretentious,” said Larry Mannino, 45, of Cutchogue, who brought his wife and children to the festival. “We never miss it.”
Photo: Volunteers prepare cooked lobster for the crowd attending the Lobsterfest in Southold sponsored by the Southold-Greenport Rotary Clubs. (July 28, 2012)