In Southern California, lobster festivals are eagerly anticipated and the large-clawed crustacean is consumed at both huge and smaller down-home events. Although most of the lobster is flown in from Maine, Southern Californians have made the events a California tradition.
Fun events where you can savor the succulent lobsters are held in Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Tustin. Two other popular events, the Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival and the Redondo Beach Lobster Festival, are on hiatus.
Original Long Beach Lobster Festival
The Original Long Beach Lobster Festival will take place at Rainbow Lagoon September 6–8, 2019. The same folks who put on the popular Long Beach Crawfish Festival will be dishing up Maine lobster out of the giant steamers, said to be the largest in the United States.
Entertainment includes music from Cajun to Latin Jazz, magicians, tons of food and drink (try the signature drink "Screaming Lobster"), and arts and craft vendors. Kids will enjoy having their face painted, letting off steam in the bounce houses, and playing games.
When: Sept 6–8, 2019, Friday: 5–10 p.m., Saturday–Sunday: Noon–10 p.m.
Where: Rainbow Lagoon at Pine Avenue and Shoreline Drive, Long Beach
Cost: Purchase your tickets online and save. Note that general admission doesn’t include food, drinks, and the VIP tent. The Friday general admission is $5 with no online discount, and Saturday and Sunday general admission is $13 ($15 at the gate). Children 12 and under are free and active US military with ID get in free as well.
VIP admission packages are also available and children must have a ticket to enter the VIP tent.
Take Note: If you purchase a Lobster Feast on the website, you are guaranteed that your lobster meal will be available. While they fly in lobster daily, they can run out.
Kids under 16 must be accompanied by an adult after 8 p.m.
Parking: Park for a fee at Marina Green, Long Beach Convention Center, and the Pike.
Accommodations: Search for hotels in Long Beach on TripAdvisor
Lobster Fest at Newport Beach
Held at the Newport Beach Civic Green, this Lobster Fest charity fundraiser is now in its eleventh year. Whole Maine lobster is flown in fresh on the morning of the event and prepared on site and served along with New York strip steak, red potatoes, corn on the cob, salads, freshly baked rolls, and dessert. There are special meals for kids, too.
Live entertainment changes each year and for the 2019 event, the featured band is West Coast Party Crashers, a high energy dance band playing everything from contemporary rock to hip hop and golden oldies.
When: Sunday, August 11, 2019, from 2–7 p.m.
Where: Newport Beach Civic Center Green, 100 Civic Center Drive
Cost: All tickets must be pre-purchased online. General admission, which includes the lobster dinner, is $65. VIP admission which includes special seating and an all-you-can-eat lobster dinner is $150. Kid's meals are $25.
Take Note: If you don’t know how to eat lobster, there will be placemats with instructions on how to use the claw cracker and what part of the lobster to eat.
Parking: Parking is available in the area.
Accommodations: Search for hotels in Long Beach on TripAdvisor.
Tustin, in Orange County, flies in lobsters each May for Lobsterfest, a charity fundraiser. This outdoor festival takes place in Peppertree Park where you’ll enjoy live music by the Then Again Band, a 50s, 60s, and 70s music cover band, and all-you-can-eat lobster with pools of melted butter for dipping. The full meal includes lobster, tri-tip steak, salads, side dishes, desserts, and coffee.
When: Saturday, May 16, 2020. The gates open at 4 p.m. with food being served from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Peppertree Park, Tustin
Cost: 2020 ticket sales will be available in January. The 2019 price of general admission with open table seating was $100 at the gate and $80 when purchased early online. General admission with table service was $130 at the gate and $110 with “early bird” purchase.
Take Note: Children are admitted free but if they would like to eat some lobster, they must have a $25 child’s ticket.
Parking: Parking is available in the area.
Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival
The Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival and Music Weekend was billed as the largest lobster festival in the world and included three days of music, kids activities and plenty of lobster. However, the Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival took a hiatus in 2018 and is planned to return in a new form, in a new waterfront location. The LA Lobster Festival won multiple awards including four Guinness World Records, so watch their Facebook page for news on the new format and location.