It’s been missing for several years, but members of the Polk City American Legion Family are bringing back the favorite tradition.
The 17th annual Lobsterfest will be held Saturday, Aug. 24, at the American Legion Post 232, 114 W. Broadway. The event is being put on by the American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary, the Sons of the American Legion and the American Legion Riders, otherwise known as the American Legion Family.
Lobsterfest is an all-day event filled with a variety of activities for everyone, said Carol Easter, American Legion Auxiliary president and events committee member. A horseshoe tournament will be held at noon, with registration beginning at 11 a.m. A beer tent with mixed drinks, beer and pop will open at noon and continue serving throughout the day. A 50/50 raffle will also be ongoing the day of the event. The meal will be served from 4-8 p.m. and will include lobster, corn-on-the-cob and a baked potato. For the non-lobster eaters, beef burgers will be served while supplies last. After the meal, the rock cover band, Nice Bangs, will play from 8 p.m.-midnight.
The annual lobster feed was first held in 1995 and was the idea of former post commander Paul Pouliot, a Maine native, Easter said. At the time, the Legion was in poor financial standings and was looking for a fun way to raise money. Pouliot had live lobsters flown in from Maine to feed the 150 people who attended the inaugural fundraiser. The event continued to grow after that initial year, with approximately 900 lobsters served to attendees during the fundraiser’s heyday.
"It rapidly became one of central Iowa’s largest annual attractions, and it was always a sold-out event," Easter said. "The Polk City community, as well as the other North Polk communities, Ankeny and even the metro Des Moines area, have always been big supporters of this event. It was known as the ‘Ocean’s Best in the Midwest.’"
When the economy took a hit during the mid- to late-2000s, so did the lobsterfest. The increased price of lobster caused the price of tickets for the fundraiser to increase. The American Legion family decided to try different fundraisers, but those did not have the same level of success as the lobster feeds, Easter said.
"People were always asking about the Lobsterfest, so this year we are trying to bring it back and make it affordable," Easter said.
Tickets for the event are currently on sale at the Polk City American Legion building and at the Ankeny HyVee courtesy counter. There is a limited number of tickets available, and those wishing to dine on lobster must purchase a ticket by Friday, Aug. 16. Those who want to eat a beef burger rather than lobster or do not wish to eat a meal at the event do not have to purchase tickets.
The money raised from the event will be used to help local veterans and military personnel, as well as their families. Funds will also go to the North Polk School District and the people of the North Polk community.
"We look forward to the Lobsterfest coming back again bigger and better than ever this year. Hope to see you there," committee members wrote in a press release.