Lobster Race draws thousands

Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
The crowd watches the first race in the 25th Anniversary Lobster Race in Aiken, S.C.

AIKEN – Sure, the Kentucky Derby is Saturday, but tonight in Aiken the racing and accompanying sea of onlookers were all about the lobsters.


“Go! Come On!,” shouted many from the crowd as heat after heat took place in water-filled tanks emblazed to greet visitors: “Welcome to Lobster Downs - Aiken, S.C.”

It was the 25th anniversary of the Lobster Race in downtown Aiken along Newberry Street and The Alley. The event is considered a spoof on the Kentucky Derby, and tonight it drew an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people.

Visitors said they came for the races, but also the music, food and children’s rides. The event also brought back memories for some, including Mitch Albers, of Aiken, who attended his second Lobster Race tonight with his wife, Jenni, and his 1-year-old daughter, Jocelyn.

“Our first date was at the Lobster Race,” he said, motioning to his wife.

Then there was Rusty Givens, who said he attended the very first running of the lobsters .

“It wasn’t nearly this big,” he said, looking around to several bands playing and vendor tables, where red lobster hats with protruding plush claws and tails were selling quick. An enticing aroma of peanuts, fries and burgers being sold added to the atmosphere.

Ultimately, it was the races that caught the most attention, with lobsters named Reasonable Doubt and Rush Lim-Claw racing for their life as officials said winners were headed back to the ocean while losers would get the melted butter award.

“I just like watching people’s reactions,” Aiken resident Sarah Herring said of the races.



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