I was seeing RED everywhere. Then signs for “Lobster.” Then…Trinity Episcopal Church. Huh? What exactly was going on in Solebury, and where did lobster come into it?
I was, of course, suspicious. Lobster? In Bucks County? I’m a snob. We go to Maine every year and gorge ourselves on very, very fresh lobster. We sit on a beach on an island in the middle of Penobscot Bay and go at a one-and-a-half-pounder with a rock some glacier left behind, bottle of white wine shoved into the sand nearby. Does it get any better? I don’t think so. Well, maybe after the second one. And a couple of s’mores.
So I have a tendency to avoid eating lobster that has more frequent flyer miles than I do. But…these folks seemed to be having a good time. I hit the brakes, parked and went over to find out what “Lobsterfest” was all about, and how I could get me some.
Those of you familiar with this spring tradition at Trinity Episcopal Church of Solebury are probably snickering right now. You can’t just sashay your way in on the day of Lobsterfest and expect to get one. Ha! See, you have to buy your lobster dinners ahead of time, so that they can order enough lobsters for the day of the fest. Makes sense. (‘course I begged and pleaded innocence. They gave me an extra one.)
Still, my basic question hadn’t been answered. Most church suppers around here consist of pork and sauerkraut, roast beef, spaghetti and the like. But lobster? That’s ambitious.
Stephen Wilson, director of Youth Ministries at Trinity Episcopal, filled me in. Sixteen years ago the Trinity Youth Group (known as “TYG” if you’re cool) decided they wanted to do a service trip. A lot of students are doing this these days, from Habitat for Humanity to helping out Katrina victims. But the teens had a different idea. Why go so far away when there were neighborhoods and folks who might need their help close by? They decided instead to go to Philadelphia, spend a week (residential), and help with their hands and hearts. “Mission Philadelphia” was born. Now the group of over 40 teens goes every year, just after New Hope-Solebury lets out for the school year. The Lobsterfest helps fund the effort.
It started with fixing up and painting projects but then they found Urban Tree Connection, a non-profit organization in Philadelphia that helps urban communities convert vacant lots into gardens and green spaces. The first spot was at 55th & Pearl in West Philly, next to a public housing building. There the Solebury kids built up the garden, creating raised beds. Local kids work to “earn” a plot that they can farm and then keep the produce for their family.
Next they worked at 608 N. 53rd St., a lot surrounded by row homes and the former site of a house that had been knocked down. It had been a chop shop, but last year it became a garden. The TYG teens planted about a half acre lot. What happened afterwards surprised even Stephen Wilson. “It touched off a firestorm of community activity,” he explained. “It was no longer our ‘baby.’ The community took over, and even kids from Drexel and Ursinus came to do service projects there.”
Last year, after three days of pre-work during the year, they went back to N. 53rd St. with plants donated by None Such Farm, and help from Temple University professors about proper technique. Drexel University is also kicking in some money to help the kids set up a rainwater collection system for the garden.
This year will be the 20th Annual Mission Philadelphia trip in June 2016.
So I guess you want to now know how to get some lobster because it’s for a very good cause, no? The pre-order deadline was May 27, BUT, you can still order after May 27 up until the day of the event, Saturday, June 4th, but it will cost $35. (That’s because the lobster will cost more to get that close to the event.) The lobster is in fact coming from Maine, via New York, where a member of the church goes to pick it up and hustle it back to Solebury.
Here’s the menu and prices:
- Lobster Dinner (to eat at Lobsterfest or take-home): includes 1 1/4 pound lobster, corn-on-the-cob, coleslaw, roll, ice tea and lemonade for $35.00
- An extra 1 1/4 Pound Lobster is $20.00
- Rib Dinner (to eat at Lobsterfest or take-home): includes corn on the cob, coleslaw, roll, ice tea and lemonade for $35.00
- Additional Rib is $20.00
- Clam Chowder – Single Serving is $5.00
- Clam Chowder – Quart-To-Go $12.00
- Hamburgers, hot dogs, pretzels, sno-cones, sodas, and freshly made desserts and other concessions will also be available.
- You can become a Lobsterfest Donor. A $150.00 donation includes 2 lobster dinners or rib dinners and a recognition at the event.
Go to their website to order online or mail in your check. The event is more than just eating lobster (it is?). There will be live bands, a silent auction and raffle, and crafts and games for children. Folks bring lawn chairs and hang out. See you there.
Saturday, June 4, 2016
4:00 to 8:00 pm
Trinity Episcopal Church
6587 Upper York Road