Let us introduce you to Adelaide Hendricks, 19, who served in the new role of Maine Lobster Festival Delegate this year (historically known as the “Maine Sea Goddess”). While the title might be different, the role has always been the same — to serve as MLF’s ambassador during the Festival and as an advocate for the Maine lobster industry throughout the year.

As Maine Lobster Festival President Celia Knight defined the new gender-neutral role in a Penobscot Bay Pilot article, “This is not a beauty pageant. It is an event to find the best person to represent the lobster industry, the Festival, and our community.”

Born and raised in the Midcoast, Addie, as she’s known to her friends, competed with 10 other Delegate contestants (many of whom graduated from Oceanside High School with her). Her mother grew up on Vinalhaven and her brother lobster fishes out of South Thomaston. 

“I have a lot of fishermen in my family,” she said.

All Delegate contestants participated in volunteering and service events, public speaking and social media workshops, a letter-writing campaign to support Maine’s lobster industry, working with local youth, and helping to set up before the Festival opened.

Addie claimed the crown on the opening night of the Festival, Aug. 2, 2023. She won $2,000 and directed her $100 Festival donation to her nonprofit of choice: Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Autumn Oxton, a graduate of Vinalhaven High School won the title of 2nd Delegate, and Lizzi Swan, now enrolled at Boston College, was the winner of the Congenial Award.

Currently studying at the University of Southern Maine with a major in elementary education and a concentration in history and social studies, Addie used her love of history to educate the public about the lobster industry.

“Overall my experience has been very exciting,” she said. “When I walked around the Festival grounds, I would stop and talk with people, get to know them and where they were from. Hearing people’s stories was probably the best thing. After that, I participated in The Big E, New England’s biggest fair in Massachusetts in September. I was there for ‘Maine Day’ and that’s when I had the most opportunity to talk about the lobster industry. I love education and teaching, so that part just came naturally.”

Asked what was the most common question she got, Addie said, “People have a genuine interest in the lobster industry, especially people who’ve never seen an ocean in their lives. So, mostly I just talked about the process of lobster fishing and how dangerous it can be. It’s definitely not sunshine and roses all of the time. That, and how many guidelines Maine lobstermen have to follow to preserve and protect the industry.”

Addie said being a Delegate has been a two-way street in terms of benefits. “I’d say, overall, I’ve gained a lot of confidence,” she said. “I met so many people and that was definitely something I had to get used to. I was thrown into it a lot of times and I feel like because of that, I’ve grown in a lot of ways. As my friend who competed with me said, ‘It’s definitely a great experience if you’ve never done public speaking before.’ Between that, learning how to communicate better, and networking, there’s a lot of great things that go along with being a Delegate.”

The Maine Lobster Festival will be free again this year, July 31-Aug. 4, 2024! Visit our website for more details:  https://mainelobsterfestival.com/