The Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival has been a tradition since 1999 and although the price of those savory crustaceans might’ve been much more palatable back then, the city’s appetite for them has if anything only grown with each year. Taking place next to the USS Iowa, the Lobster Festival might not be as big as other outdoor summer events like the LA Fair, but it’s small, local atmosphere are what make it such a huge family attraction. Carnival rides and games surround the festival’s entrance while the interior is a small, wide-open space dedicated entirely to shaded seating or food vendors.
Obviously seafood was what was on the brain of anyone attending the festival, but there were a few notable vendors and food trucks selling a variety of pork and sausage, grilling them out in the open and tempting even the most staunch lobster lover. When it comes to seafood, price and the quality of food can vary from place to place, event to event–but I’m happy to say that the Lobster Festival did not disappoint. Prices were modest, especially for a festival event, offering $15 purchases for single lobsters or $25 for one meal or $40 for a double lobster meal, the meals coming with a side of potatoes and cole slaw. There were also vendors selling grilled lobster tails on a stick, as well as a variety of seafood combination favorites, such as the lobster grilled cheese or macaroni and cheese.
For entertainment, Lobsterfest wrangled up a number of bands to play the throughout the day, including a string of phenomenal covers from Black Crystal Wolf Kids and the dazzling synth dance party in Parade of Lights late night set on Friday.
Saturday was without a doubt the three-day festival’s primary day, boasting a ton of music acts including Avid Dancer and was also the busiest drawing the largest crowds. The event was clearly catered towards families with its light carnival presence, but everyone from the toddlers to preteens present weren’t just there to play the games or ride the rides. Every other table had a family with a child trying seafood for the first time and nearly all of them expressed clear delight at the newfound delicacy, despite their obvious initial frustration at having to work for the payoff tender lobster meat by cracking them open with their hands. It was cute and at times humorous to watch these future seafood lovers take their first bites, wearing the lobster head hats parents had bought to memorialize their visit.
Words & Photos: Steven Ward