When thousands of people pass through the gates into the Maine Lobster Festival from July 29 through August 2, 2020, a big “thank you” will once again go to the more than 1,300 volunteers that make it all happen.

Nancy Jeffers, chair of the volunteer committee, has been doing this for the last 24 years and is always amazed at the dedication of the people who donate their time to Rockland’s biggest community festival.

“We get about 50 percent of our volunteers from locals and around Maine and about 50 percent from visitors,” she said.

Volunteer vacations have been a trend for quite some time; it’s a meaningful way to spend your time off while still enjoying a new area and culture.

“Last year, a couple from out of state staying at The Trade Winds happened to be here coincidentally when the Festival was happening,” she said. “They went to the Volunteer Office and just walked in and said, ‘We’re here; we’re tourists, and we just want to volunteer.’” Jeffers added, “We have people both in Maine and from other states who take their vacations to coincide with the five days of the Maine Lobster Festival so they can volunteer for part of the time. And, they come back every year.”

Each volunteer shift is four hours and gets you free admission for all five days of the Festival as long as you are wearing your volunteer t-shirt. Plus, that coveted Maine Lobster Festival volunteer t-shirt comes with bragging rights (so many people want them but they’re not for sale!).

Jeffers said a variety of volunteers are welcome for the dozen or so volunteer positions that are available throughout the five days. If you’re a morning person, the Pancake Breakfast Crew and Gate Ticket Takers are a great way to start the day. If you like afternoons, a myriad of positions such as the PA Booth, the Grounds Crew, the Food and Marine Tent Crew are also available. And for those who prefer to spend the day enjoying beaches, restaurants and scenery in and around the Midcoast area, evening positions such as the Food Tent Crew and the Lobster Cooker Crew are a good bet. As always, Set Up and Tear Down Crew are always needed before the Festival opens and after it closes.

Volunteering with your kids is also a great way to invest a short amount of time in our Midcoast Maine community with a big payoff during your shift, for you will find out exactly why Mainers and the MLF festivarians are some of the nicest, friendliest, and most enjoyable people to spend a few hours with! Please note that young children are welcome to volunteer cleaning tables, but most positions require the age limit to be 15 and over.

“We want people to feel free to walk in on any day the Festival is happening and offer to volunteer that day,” said Jeffers. The Volunteer Office is located in the Maine Lighthouse Museum across from The Trade Winds Inn.

Anyone interested in being a part of the 2020 Maine Lobster Festival can easily fill out an online volunteer form on the website.