In this July 31. 2015, file photo, Dexter Stephens, 7, inspects his lobster during the 68th annual Lobster Festival in Rockland. Credit: Ashley L. Conti / BDN

The Maine Lobster Festival kicks off Wednesday in Rockland.

It’s the first time since the start of the pandemic that the five-day festival of fun and feasting has been held on the coast.

The annual event takes place during the first weekend of August, from Wednesday through Sunday.

The festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Rockland each year with the promise of fresh lobster dinners, nationally renowned entertainers, cooking contests and more.

This year’s festival will feature some noticeable changes. In honor of its 75th anniversary, admission to the festival will be free. The free admission also is a recognition of the tough times people have experienced in recent years and an effort to allow as many people as possible to attend.

Festival organizers also have decided to eliminate carnival rides to provide “greener” options for festival activities. In lieu of the rides, the festival will feature two large playsets, a larger tent for children’s activities, a rock climbing wall and an arcade.

The opening day’s festivities will include musical performances by Jim Gibson and the Midcoast Music Academy, as well as the coronation of the Sea Goddess and evening fireworks.

You can see what other festivities will be held over the next five days at

The festival starts at 11 a.m.