Peter German writes, “The idea for Seafood Fest came from a Rotary Club in Marquette, Michigan. West Bend Rotary members traveled to the Marquette, MI to see how their Fest was run and were impressed. The idea was then implemented here in West Bend and the rest is history!
The need for a fund-raiser stemmed from a decision made 7 years prior to the start of Seafood Fest to help preserve West Bend’s wetlands and natural waterways. The West Bend Rotary group emphatically decided to lend a hand to the second phase of the Riverwalk expansion project and pledged $110,000 to do so.
There was initial apprehension regarding the organization of an event this size, but outstanding turnouts for the 3 day event left organizers pleased with the results. Even with a fair amount of rain on the first night, many people dropped by Regner Park to see what all the excitement was about. By all measures, the event was deemed a success. All told, 875 lobsters were sold over the course of the event.”
In June 2014 the Noon Rotary made some changes including putting an end to the tokens and switching the name from Seafood Fest to Riverfest. The event was also moved off N. Main Street to the pavilion in the park with the Silver Lining Stage.
This past year organizers added food trucks to the mix, although some miscommunication and rainy weather took a toll on turnout.
What are your memories of Seafood Fest?
I remember the years when it rained (a lot) and we were standing in water and the electrical cords
were strung all over up and down and I remember the Altschaefls and us and others worrying a bit about getting electrocuted. I also remember when it was terribly hot in the tents, there would be huge fans blowing air at us.
I remember how delicious and wonderful the seafood entrees were. There were so many different foods to choose from. The crowds were always in a ‘fun mood’ and it was fun working at Seafood Fest.
I think that was the first year Sue. Windy Fierek and I were boling shrimp and crab legs and keeping the crab warm in nescos. I remember getting shocked more than once it was so wet. It rained so hard Main Street literally looked like a whitewater river during the deluge.