Crustacean Sensation: Bar Harbor’s 4th of July Lobster Races

Erica Stapleton

Updated 4 months ago


Bets are in and the next heat is getting ready to go….

“You’re in Bar Harbor Maine.  Everything is lobster everything,” says Alan Mogridge, CEO and Executive Director of the Mount Desert Island YMCA.

The ever-appropriate 4th of July lobster racing tradition reels in the masses.

“We don’t have anything like this at home, this is awesome,” says Holly Nunemaker, from Indiana.

“We have a cow drop,” adds her husband Jason.  “Do you know what that is?”

Spectators say the lobster race is a little different than the cow drop.  So how exactly does this crustacean sensation work?

“My job is to be a starter,” says Tim Miller.  “I’m kind of in charge of taking a couple lobsters, putting them in and making sure they get down to the other side, hopefully.”

Hopefully being the operative word…

“There really is no strategy,” Miller explains.  “You put them in and hope. They have a mind of their own.  They’re kind of fun and interesting and delicious all at the same time.”

People aren’t being selfish for the shellfish.

The dollar bets benefit the MDI YMCA. Unless you pick a winning lobster – then you get two dollars back.

“I’m two for two! I just pick the name and go with it,” Nunemaker says.

Local businesses sponsor the little racers, who are kept safe in seaweed-filled coolers between heats. As organizers say, the whole community is behind this event.

“Its a different sense of community that I’ve never seen anywhere else,” says Miller.  “People from all over the place are like, ‘wow this is so original.’  It just gives the town originality.”


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