A taste of the coast coming to Elmira courtesy of Kiwanis Lobsterfest
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A taste of the coast coming to Elmira courtesy of Kiwanis Lobsterfest

It’s almost time to dig out your favourite bib and those pants with the stretchy waistband, because the Kiwanis Lobsterfest is coming back to Elmira. The region’s most luscious lobster dinner returns to Lions Hall for its 31st year on May 26, and this year promises to be as big as ever. Lobsters weighing 1.5 pounds will be flown in fresh on the day of the event and steamed to perfection by the club’s experienced lobster masters.

Add in some prime rib for those who choose not to indulge in the lobster, along with a wide range of salads, potatoes, a secret baked bean recipe and dessert, and everyone is sure to go home with a smile on their face.

“There are two secrets – you need to start with a big fresh lobster and you have to cook it just right,” said Tom Hendrick, committee chair and founder of the event. “We’ve cooked about eleven tons of lobster over those 31 years. When you’ve done so much for so long, you get pretty darned good at it.”

Eleven tons of lobsters cooked to date.

Kiwanis club member Tony Dowling said the event has become a fixture in the community over the past three decades, and is an important fundraiser for their ongoing work in the community, including the Kiwanis Music Festival, the Kiwanis Santa Claus parade, Meals on Wheels, the Kiwanis food drive, the Woolwich Memorial Centre, and others.

Some 500 to 600 people come out annually, helping to raise anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000.

“We’ve had a pretty steady core over the years,” Dowling said.

Aside from the great food, diners will enjoy live east-coast music during dinner, with a DJ and a dance to follow. There will also be a cash bar, and one of the highlights of the evening is the so-called “lightening raffles” for great prizes ranging from sporting events to weekend getaways.

Introduced two years ago, Dowling said the raffle is a real hit. After dinner a handful of ticket sellers are given about ten tickets to sell, but once they’re gone they’re gone, and it usually only takes about two minutes for them to be sold out. Once they are sold the item is raffled off immediately, and the next round of tickets are made available.

“It doesn’t last more than 20 minutes for the whole thing,” Dowling said.

“A lot of time you try to do raffles you lose the crowd because it goes on and on. This is very entertaining.”

The 31st Kiwanis Lobsterfest is on May 26 at Lions Hall in Elmira. Tickets are $39 per person for the early bird seating at 5:00 p.m. or $49 for the late sitting, which starts at 7:00 p.m. For tickets visit Read’s Decorating or call Tony Dowling (519) 669-1281 or email tony@elmirastoveworks.com.

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