BARRINGTON, N.S. - Move over Shubenacadie Sam. Lucy the Lobster will be making the Groundhog Day prediction this year in the Lobster Capital of Canada on Nova Scotia’s South Shore.
Lucy is making her debut appearance at 8 a.m. on Feb. 2 in North East Point by the Cape Sable Island Causeway, when she comes out of the ocean to see if she can see her shadow. The event is a kick-off for the inaugural South Shore Lobster Crawl; a three-week winter festival that celebrates everything lobster.
“Shubenacadie Sam, you are on notice,” said Donna Hatt, Chair of the South Shore Tourism Co-operative, during the official South Shore Lobster Crawl launch party in Barrington Passage on Jan. 31.
With growing tourism in the off-season and winter months a priority for the board of directors of the South Shore Tourism Cooperative, the South Shore Lobster Crawl has been a work in progress since last March.
“We decided it’s all about the lobster, starting with dumping day in November and continuing on to the last day in May, its our lobster season and its best season of all especially on the south shore,” said Hatt. “Over and over again we hear folks say we would come in the winter but nothing’s open. We blew everyone’s minds with how much was actually available; accommodations, restaurants, museums, festivals, events, curling clubs there’s so much available to us.”
More than 60 events from Peggy’s Cove through to Barrington are on the South Shore Lobster Crawl schedule. Hatt said the events have been created by industry and community partners “that have all crawled on board, created unique experiences in a dynamic way that enables us to not only talk about eating lobster but to experience the heritage, the culture and more importantly appreciate what goes into it.”
“There’s an incredible amount of work behind the scenes and what is must be like in winter months we can only imagine,” he said
Hatt said many people think lobster is a summer season treat and aren’t even aware it is lobster season on the south shore in the winter.
“Many guests coming into Nova Scotia, the number one thing they say they want to eat is lobster but they don’t think about it as a winter culinary adventure so that’s what the South Shore Lobster Crawl is really all about,” said Hatt.
“What’s been incredible to us is the volume of folks who have jumped on board with so many different creations,” said Hatt, such as Becky Williams, owner Becky’s Knit and Yarn Shop in Lockeport.
“We need events like this so we can come together and join forces in marketing,” said Williams. “My shop is open year-round so events like this are a great boost in the winter… There are so many spin-offs from this event during the actual dates and many months down the road and even among us as group working together here today.
“This rejuvenates us during a long cold winter, its good for the soul and it’s a tonic for us locals to see the busy season,” she added. “We see strength in numbers. The more we put in the more we receive. It’s hard work. It doesn’t fall in your lap so crawl aboard and get out and about and get out to some of the events along the South Shore.”
Hatt said the South Shore Lobster Crawl is meant to complement and enhance the annual Shelburne County Lobster Festival held in the spring by drawing more attention to the fact that 40 per cent of Canada’s lobster landings comes from this region (LFA 33 and 34).
“We want to be supportive of the lobster industry. We want to be supportive of the restaurants who try to bring from pot to plate and capitalize on that opportunity. People do want local,” she said. “We want to use this as an economic driver. The lobster industry is a catapult for everything else.”
Jody Crook, deputy warden for the Municipality of Barrington echoes this.
“The lobster industry in this area is an economic driver for the region,” said Crook. “It forms the culture, the heritage and the livelihood of a lot who live here and can play an important role in the tourism industry in an event like this.”
The South Shore Lobster Crawl will also be getting media attention from outside the region, with Nova Scotia Tourism bringing as group of travel writers to stay on the South Shore for five nights and experience everything lobster, including “a lobster roll smack down” where they will be sampling the 14 lobster rolls being served as part of the Lobster Crawl in a taste-off, said Hatt. “Word is getting out about the crawl.”
For a full list of South Shore Lobster Crawl events visit www.lobstercrawl.ca
You can also find information about the crawl on Facebook. Click here.