Why This Lobster Festival Was Forced to Serve Hot Dogs

This lobster party quickly became a sausage party after bad weather grounded a plane containing 100 live lobsters, many of whom ended up rotting away during their perilous voyage.

by Nick Rose
Aug 29 2016, 5:00pm

Photo via Flickr user LWYang

The good people of Northwestern Alberta don't get to eat a whole lot of lobster. Being hundreds of kilometers north of Edmonton and not even remotely close to any seafood-bearing waters means that crustaceans are a big fucking deal when they become available.

In fact, for most people living in that part of the world, lobster consumption is an annual affair that takes place at the Northern Alberta Lobster Festival. But this year's lobster party quickly became a sausage party after bad weather grounded 100 live lobsters, many of whom ended up rotting away during their perilous voyage.

According to the CBC, the doomed lobsters were originally caught in Newfoundland, some 6,000 kilometers away from their destination, and put on an Air Canada cargo plane. But that plane would not be able to complete its voyage in time for the seafood enthusiasts of Northwestern Alberta to enjoy the light, sweet flesh they were promised.

READ MORE: There's a Good Chance That Ain't Lobster on Your Lobster Roll

Because of what Air Canada called inclement weather, the cargo plane was forced to land in Toronto and then redirected to Edmonton, only getting to Grande Prairie the next day at 10 AM, roughly 18 hours after the festival had ended. To add insult to injury, much of the lobster meat had spoiled by the time it got to where it was going.

Needless to say, this left a bad taste in the mouth of festival organizer Jackie Panasiuk. "We had people come from all over Alberta, and unfortunately the lobster weren't among the attendees," Panasiuk told the CBC, adding that she didn't let spoiled meat spoil her party. "It was a very disappointing event. We ate hot dogs at a lobster fest."


Photo via Facebook.

There's nothing wrong with hot dogs, but when you live in the Rockies and you're expecting 145 pounds of Atlantic lobster meat, processed meat tubes just won't cut it. Panasiuk posted the following picture to her Facebook page with the caption "This is a picture of two very sad children," explaining how the logistical nightmare led to widespread disappointment for locals.

And though many of the lobsters were no longer fit for human consumption, what could be salvaged was redistributed to nearby residents. "We cooked and froze them and distributed them to community members, because nobody has enough freezer space for that many lobsters," Panasiuk explained to the CBC.

But Air Canada insists that they did everything possible to make the things work for the festival, refunding all costs and offering to pay for shipping for next year's lobster fest.

"Inclement weather in Toronto caused flight delays and cancellations affecting all airline," Air Canada told MUNCHIES. "The shipment missed the last connecting flight in Toronto and was sent the next morning on the first available flight. We regret not having been able to meet their expectations. We refunded all costs and have offered free transportation for next year's event."

MUNCHIES reached out to Jackie Panasiuk for comment but did not get a response in time for publication.