Placencia Lobster Fest July 14th – 16th

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Placencia sidewalk in front of Tipsy Tuna Bar

Organized by the Placencia Village Council and the Placencia Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, the Placencia Lobsterfest is an annual celebration of the opening of the lobster season in Belize. This year, the lobster festival in Placencia will take place over the long weekend of July 14th – 16th.


The Placencia Lobsterfest was started in 1998 when a small Placencia Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), which had formed in the 1980s, saw a need to create an opportunity to attract visitors to the Placencia Peninsula during the slower summer months. Former Placencia BTIA President Wende Bryan who stepped in when the organization was seven-member strong, planned the event along with the other BTIA members around the opening of the lobster season and the Placencia Fishermen’s Cooperative’s celebration of Fishermen’s Day.

The first Placencia Lobsterfest was in June 1998 and it was held near the Placencia fishing harbour by the main dock and only had one table representing Green Parrot Resort which is located in the Maya Beach community of the Peninsula. Chef Frank De Salva who is now the proprietor of Mango’s in Maya Beach, was serving Lobster bruschetta alongside former Green Parrot Owner Ray Twanow.

The small gathering played two games to raise money for the Placencia BTIA: Cast Net and Reel in the Dinghie. In Cast Net, the player aimed to throw a fishing cast net over a shilling lying on the ground, with the shilling positioned in the very center of the net. In Reel in the Dinghie, players used a fishing rod to reel in an occupied dinghie to shore. With a few shillings and dollars in pocket, the Placencia BTIA pressed forward.

Later that year, Bryan who had moved to Placencia from Canada in 1991 along with her sister Denise Williams and opened Pickled Parrot Bar and Grill, organized a Christmas dance with Placencia natives, Martin Westby and John B. Williams to raise funds to open the Placencia Tourism Center. When the headquarters for the Placencia BTIA opened in early 1999, Bryan hired Laura Godfrey, the current owner of Placencia Office Supply, to manage the office. That year, Godfrey worked with Bryan to organize the first Placencia Fishermen’s Day Saltwater Fishing Tournament, which was incorporated along with Lobsterfest weekend activities. The 1999 Lobsterfest also saw the first fundraiser t-shirts.

By 2000 and with the direction of former BTIA Director Elysia Dial, the festival had grown considerably with many more food vendors, games and activities.

To accommodate the festival’s significant growth over the years, the Placencia BTIA joined forces with the Placencia Village Council and relocated the festival to the beachfront in Placencia Village. In collaboration with the Placencia Village Council, the festival now receives participation from approximately 50 booths where festival goers can taste a plethora of lobster dishes such as grilled lobster, lobster pies, stew lobster, lobster fajitas and lobster pizza. The Placencia BTIA also organizes an annual Lobsterfest raffle, which boasts incredible prizes.  A fully stocked bar managed by the Village Council and great live music made possible with the help of many sponsors create a summer party like no other throughout the three-day event.

In 2011, the Placencia BTIA decided to move the Placencia Fishermen’s Saltwater Tournament to September making it an event of its own and creating a new income opportunity during the slower tourism months. With lionfish threatening the community’s fishing industry, the Lobsterfest along with the Southern Environmental Association also started the first Lionfish Tournament during the Lobsterfest weekend’s festivities in 2011.