It’s a dream for many little girls to wear the crown as they watch the coronation of the Maine Lobster Festival Sea Goddess and see her smile as she waves to the crowd during the pageant. Every year, dozens of local high school graduates apply to become the Maine Lobster Festival Sea Goddess. Erin Dugan, 18, who currently serves as the 2018-2019 Sea Goddess, embodies what it takes to be a strong, independent resilient ambassador for the Maine Lobster Festival and the Midcoast Region.
“I’ve been volunteering at the Festival since I was five,” said Dugan, who is currently a freshman at the University of Southern Maine. “Since I was little, it was my ultimate goal to be crowned Sea Goddess.”
Since 1948, the role of the Maine Sea Goddess involved representing the Maine Lobster Festival as an ambassador. The very first person to hold that title was Ruth Roberts of Rockland, who was first crowned as “Miss Maine Seafoods” that very year.
Every year, the Maine Sea Goddess arrives by boat with King Neptune and his Court and Black Beard in Rockland, Maine, to officially open the Maine Lobster Festival. Apart from mingling with the crowds each day in a crown and sash during the five-day Maine Lobster Festival, the Sea Goddess also gets to hand out awards to winners of various events such as the Great International Lobster Crate Race, the Seafood Cooking Contest, Cod Fish Carry, Lobster Eating Contest, Diaper Derby and others. And of course, the big crowning moment for the Sea Goddess is the annual Maine Lobster Festival Pageant and being the center of attention in The Big Parade.
“I met so many people who volunteered and worked hard for the Festival and saw how much it took to put the pageant all together,” said Dugan. “You have to be very comfortable interacting with the public and perform certain duties throughout the year.”
She has taken her duties seriously. Once the 2018 Festival ended, she continued to represent the Festival by participating in a number of Maine festivals throughout the year, including a trip to the Eastern States Exposition (BIG E) in Springfield, Massachusetts.
When Dugan hands over her crown to the 2019-2020 Sea Goddess during the Coronation for the 72nd Annual Maine Lobster Festival, she will appear on stage, and give a small speech about her experiences over the past year.
For all new applicants, Dugan’s advice is: “You have to be able to talk to a lot of people and be open and personable. It’s a real leadership position getting you out of your comfort zone, but it’s definitely a character builder.”
For more information on how to apply for the 2019 Maine Sea Goddess role, visit: https://www.mainelobsterfestival.com/main-events/coronation/.