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150 lobsters served in Lake Country drive-thru fundraiser

Rotary Club sees success in unique COVID-friendly lobster dinner event
Nathan Loveday, dressed as a giant lobster, with Rotary dog Scout watching, offers a visiting dog in the line of cars its first whiff of lobster. (Jim Taylor - Contributed)

Travis Ashley had looked a lobster in the eye before, but never 150 of them at once.

Ashley was the chef-in-charge when the Rotary Club of Lake Country did a Lobster Crawl on Saturday night Feb. 27.

About 20 club volunteers distributed 150 lobster dinners to people in cars that lined up in the parking area of George Elliott Secondary School in Lake Country.

Travis Ashley, with his assistant, club president Sandy Wightman, had to keep the lobsters coming, fresh out of the boiling water, for two hours.

As a fully trained chef, Ashley explained, “It takes about 10-12 minutes per lobster. If you overcook them, they get tough.”

Also, the boiling water has to be just salty enough – “about the same as the ocean they came out of,” Ashley said.

The most dangerous part of the process is snipping off the elastic bands that keep the lobsters’ very powerful claws closed. “Boiling rubber bands can affect the taste of the water,” Ashley said.

Ashley and Wightman picked up the lobsters, flown in direct from Halifax, N.S., that afternoon.

Rotarians Sandy Wightman, left, and Travis Ashley admire containers of live lobsters flown directly from Nova Scotia. (Jim Taylor - Contributed)
Rotarians Sandy Wightman, left, and Travis Ashley admire containers of live lobsters flown directly from Nova Scotia. (Jim Taylor - Contributed)

With a car arriving approximately every minute to pick up dinner – in one case, six dinners – the assembly line had to keep right on time.

The dinners sold for $60 each. All 150 dinner tickets sold out in days.

The Rotary Club estimates a profit of around $5,000, which will fund a variety of community projects.

The club offered its gratitude to organizations that helped make the Lobster Crawl a success. The Ogopogo Rotary Club in Kelowna supplied the boiling tank. The Lake Country Liquor Store and Save-On-Foods were corporate sponsors. Save-On also provided the re-usable grocery bags to hold each lobster, and the accompanying potato salad and dessert. The District of Lake Country enabled the use of the Community Centre and kitchen for this special event.

Save-On gift cards, available through Rotary (online at and at UBR Services on Bottom Wood Lake Road, let you pay for your groceries at no extra charge while providing 16 cents out of every dollar as a donation to the Lake Country Food Bank. With the Food Bank’s bulk purchasing power, that means every $100 spent at Save-On using a gift card contributes $40 to the Food Bank’s operations.

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Head chef Travis Ashley dumps the first load of lobsters into the vats of boiling saltwater. (Jim Taylor - Contributed)