Ominous storm clouds and rumblings of thunder didn’t put a damper on the Lobster Fest Block Party at Harbor Island on the evening of Saturday, June 14.
The block party closed out a day of Lobster Fest activities, which began with lunch at Church of the Servant Episcopal. The sanctuary of the church was converted into The Lobster Shack, where guests could sit at round tables and dine on freshly steamed lobsters.
Now in its 30th year, the festival serves as a fundraiser for the Church of the Servant, and the event is organized and run by volunteers from the church, like Stephanie Norris. Norris manned the check-in table at the block party while her husband Ryan steamed lobsters and her daughter handed out cups of melted butter.
“This is my fifth year volunteering,” Norris said. “It’s a fun event. My whole family gets involved.”
Guests who didn’t dine at the church’s Lobster Shack ordered large batches of lobsters to take home. The Harbor Island block party, however, was the only location at which lobsters were steamed on site.
Norris estimated that of the 1,700 lobsters ordered for Lobster Fest, 300 of those were sold at Harbor Island alone.
“We bring lobsters out here and cook them because there’s such a large volume of people interested here,” she said.
Neighborhood residents set up round plastic tables down the center of Live Oak Drive in the shade of the towering oak trees. A long buffet table, stacked with side dishes and desserts, spanned the length of one driveway. Children milled around on skateboards and scooters, generally more interested in playing with each other than in tasting the lobsters.
Twelve-year volunteer Don Hickey heaped steaming lobsters onto paper plates and passed them out to a long line of guests, which included Tom Cassell and Carole Hunter.
Hunter, a Wrightsville Beach native, has been coming to the Harbor Island block party for the last three years. Although she doesn’t live on Live Oak Drive, she said that she always sees people she knows at the block party.
“And we love lobster, so this is really good,” Cassell said.
“Wrightsville Beach loves a party!” Hunter added.