What do all-you-can-eat pancakes, an international crate race and over 20,000 pounds of lobster have in common? They are just a few of the many attractions that will be part of the Annual Maine Lobster Festival that will be taking place in Rockland, Maine in early August. Over 1,000 volunteers get together every year to throw one of the biggest parties in the state, which also includes top notch music acts, fine art, talented crafts people and vendors, US Coast Guard Station tours, US Navy Ship tours and professional and amateur cooking contests. Touted as "five days of feasting and fun on the fabulous coast of Maine," the Maine Lobster Festival is a one-of-a-kind experience for anyone that wants to witness Maine's culture at its finest. One of the biggest draws is the exceptional music line-up with something for every taste, so look for jazz, comedy, oldies, Celtic, reggae, folk, or a dash of the blues scattered throughout the festival grounds.

"Maine 6" by Beverly Yuen Thompson via Flickr Creative Commons

With chart topping musical headlines, the festival also offers tons of other activities for the whole family. In the fine art tent, you will enjoy the incredible artwork of many local artists, encompassing oil paints, watercolors, photography and more. Once you are done taking in the best artwork the area has to offer, head over to the craft tent to view local Maine crafters displaying their treasures of exceptional Maine craftsmanship. From pottery to hand-woven baskets to delicious homemade fudge, if you are looking for something with the quality of "Made in Maine" handiwork, this is the tent for you.

Foodies will love taking in the sights and talent at the Maine Lobster Festival Seafood Cooking Contest, which is open to anyone 18 or older, with the exception of professional food experts. Festival attendees can watch the cooks in action as they compete for the top $200 cash prize.. Enjoy a lobster dinner served with award-winning Cabot butter under the main eating tent while enjoying a breathtaking view of Penobscot Bay for the perfect warm, summer night experience. During the 2010 festival, over 20,000 pounds of fresh lobster was prepared in the event's brand new cooker on the show, which is an attraction in itself. In addition to lobster, attendees can choose from steamed and fried clams, fried Maine shrimp, shrimp cocktail, steamed mussels in wine and vegetable sauce and many varieties of summer fair food all prepared in the traditional Maine way.

"Seafood Festival" by Oomni via Flickr Creative Commons

While the food may be the main attraction of the festival, there are still many other events to look forward to, including the coronation of the "Sea Goddess," which is a highlight of the festival that involves 18 young women from the local mid-coast area vying for the Sea Goddess crown, scholarships and prizes. The winner represents the Maine Lobster Festival, the lobster industry and Rockland, Maine for the year with appearances at other events and associations throughout New England. After you're done taking in the Sea Goddess pageant, another stop on the festival highlight tour would be the infamous lobster crate race. The race is a very popular and fun event that has contestants from all over the world taking a shot at navigating a string of 50 partially submerged lobster crates. The winner is the person who runs over the most crates before falling into the chilly Atlantic Ocean and it's always one of the most memorable events of the festival. Another notable event is the Big Parade down Rockland's Main Street, which draws more than 25,000 fans each year and features the newly crowned Sea Goddess, all of the Sea Princesses and their Naval escorts and King Neptune and his Court, along with a variety of bands, marching units, colorful floats, drill teams, vehicles and much more. The entire festival is also very family-friendly and boasts a kid's tent, which offers activities like lobster eating, the codfish carry, the diaper derby and a costume parade that the family can all enjoy together.

Whether you're a lobster lover or are just looking for a fun event to immerse yourself in east coast life, the Maine Lobster Festival is a perfect mixture, of food, fun and fantastic entertainment.