The third annual Merrill Lobsterfest netted a $5,700 donation for the Lincoln County Tavern League’s Safe Ride Home program, bringing the three-year total to about $20,000.
A total of 307 tickets for the fresh Maine lobster dinners were sold this year. Volunteers committed a lot of hours to the event, including volunteers from the Haunted Sawmill.
“It definitely made the wheels turn a little easier this year,” said Mike Fick, owner of Ballyhoos, which hosts the event.
Lobsterfest is supported by local law enforcement and emergency responders. Law enforcement officers and firefighters volunteer at the event to help diners crack into their crustaceans. Merrill Police officers Kurt Perra and Greg Hartig, along with Chief Corey Bennett, kept cracking for the entire four-hour event.
Fick initiated Lobsterfest as a way to help fund the Safe Ride Home Program in Lincoln County. This year’s proceeds will help carry the program through the year, he noted. As a means to keep drunk drivers off the roads, the Safe Ride Home program is supported by a surcharge on OWI convictions and also by fundraisers such as Lobsterfest.
“The Safe Ride Home program does not receive any taxpayer dollars,” Fick explained. “It is completely either self-funded or from grants derived from a surcharge on all drunk driving convictions.”
The event has developed a local following for the lobsters that are boiled just two days removed from the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors are also catching on to Lobsterfest, coming from other parts of Wisconsin and beyond.
Plans are already underway for year four of Lobsterfest. Online ticket ordering will be added for next year.
For more information, see the Merrill Lobsterfest page on Facebook.