The first annual Merrill Lobster Fest will support the Safe Ride Home program in Lincoln County. The event, which will feature fresh Maine lobsters, will be held Aug. 1 from 4-8 p.m. at Ballyhoos on Merrill’s west side. Prospect Street in front of Ballyhoos and Cenotaph Park will be used for the event.
Tickets will only be sold on a pre-order basis until July 16, so the lobsters can be ordered, said Ballyhoos owner Mike Fick, who is organizing the event. Sales for the inaugural Lobster Fest are limited to 350 tickets. For tickets, contact the sponsoring establishments, Ballyhoos or The Beacon, in Merrill; or Twin Bay in Tomahawk.
The lobsters will be still swimming in the ocean on Thursday, July 30, and will arrive alive in Merrill on Friday.
“The only way you could get them any fresher is if you caught them yourself,” Fick said.
For a $40 ticket, Lobster Festers will be treated to a whole Maine lobster with all the fixings, including dessert. Serving will be outdoors on Prospect Street in front of Ballyhoos and Miller Furniture.
The event will also include the Lobster Roll 5K/10K run/walk, a car show and music.
Fick said the Safe Ride Home program in Lincoln County is facing an estimated $4,500 shortfall for next year. The program is funded in part by a surcharge on OWI convictions, which are declining in the state. Also, a change in the way the program is funded will place a greater percentage of the cost on local tavern leagues.
The Tomahawk/Merrill Tavern League and its participating establishments provide about 150 Safe Ride Home vouchers per month. The Safe Ride Home program benefits more than just the bar patrons who have had too much to drink, Fick said.
“It makes us all safer,” he said. “If we can stop one accident, then the program’s a winner.”
All proceeds from Merrill Lobster Fest will go to the Safe Ride Home program.
The Merrill Police Department and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in the event. Police officers will be helping crack lobsters, in fact.
The “Pick Your Ride” vehicle from the Wisconsin State Patrol – half taxi and half police car – will be on display at Lobster Fest.