In 1948, Rockland resident Alice MacKay Crie Knight was just 13 years old when she first volunteered for The Maine Lobster Festival. She would become an instrumental part of the Festival’s annual event for 70 years until stepping down in 2018 for health reasons. She also served on the board and was the Parade Grand Marshal in 2007.
Knight was a well-known and loved member of the community. She was born during the Great Depression and died at age 88 on Aug. 1, 2022, just one day before her beloved Maine Lobster Festival resumed from its two-year pandemic hiatus.
Her special mark on the Festival was her dedication to the artists, crafters and makers of the Midcoast and beyond. While in college, she brought the idea of featuring a craft fair to the Festival Board. In a 2017 News Center Maine video, she said, “I was in a sorority group, and I said, ‘We ought to do something with the Festival.’ So I gathered up some craft people and it sort of grew from there. We’re all local people and everyone seems to like to do it.”
According to a 2022 Village Soup article, Former Rockland Mayor and local historian Brian Harden said of her, “Only once in a great while comes someone whose effect on their community can be said to be transformative.”
Maine Lobster Festival President Celia Knight said her mother was her role model for volunteerism. “In our house, the Festival was like Christmas,” she said in a 2019 MLF blog. “We talked about it all year long, so when the time came to volunteer, there wasn’t any rebellion; I wanted to do it. My mother made it fun and exciting every year. My whole family has been really involved.”
Richard Johnson, a local sculptor who, along with his wife Su, has been involved in the art tent at the Festival for years, has initiated a fundraiser for a sculpture he created — King Neptune — to be cast in bronze. The sculpture, which he created in honor of Alice, has been donated to the Festival to live permanently at Buoy Park.
As for the inspiration for the sculpture, he said, “I got the idea in my head of King Neptune coming out of the water and offering a lobster,” he told reporter Charlie Crockett of MaineCoast.tv. “Alice Knight started this whole craft area around 50 years ago. She invited us [to display our work] at the Festival 45 years ago and supported our work all of those years. I always feel that some of my sculptures have their own destiny and for some reason, this King Neptune sculpture was destined for her.”
Be sure to come see the sculpture this summer at the annual Maine Lobster Festival from Aug. 2-6, 2023. Just like last year, admission is FREE this year for all five days! Find out more: https://mainelobsterfestival.com/