Lobsters take the long route

This post has been corrected, as noted below.

An estimated 1,000 lobsters will fly into John Wayne Airport on Friday evening.

If you cast a glance skyward, you won't notice any marine crustaceans suspended in mid-air.

They will, instead, disembark from a refrigerated cargo line after departing from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. A truck driver will intercept the wax cardboard boxes and transport the live critters to Anderson Seafoods in Anaheim, where they will be stored overnight in large tanks.

Unlike spiny, slipper or squat lobsters, these cold-water lobsters from Maine sport claws, which, along with the creatures' tails, are a source of meat. Their buttery flavor and high nutritional value also contribute to making them an obvious choice for the annual Lobsterfest At Newport Beach, which is in its fifth year.

Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina will host this year's gastronomical festivities Saturday, and all proceeds will be donated to charity.

"As our local community becomes more socially aware and responsible, I think that more and more [people] want to be involved and participate in activities that benefit those in need," said Joshua Anderson, a third-generation fishmonger. "When you add a great source of protein like a live lobster ... well, how could you say no?"

Starting at 3 p.m., attendees can chow down on fresh lobster professionally prepared on-site. The evening's fare also features tri-tip steak, red potatoes, corn on the cob and a cold seafood buffet. As the sun dips below the Pacific Ocean, family-friendly activities, including a performance by rock and pop cover band Instant Replay and children's programs by Camp James, will roll out.

While the lobsters are always a hit, "The goal of the event is to provide a fun-filled summer event which reflects the lifestyle of a beach community where the proceeds benefit the scholarship fund for Leadership Tomorrow, a vital civic leadership program, and to grant a child's wish through Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire," said Tim Brown, chairman of the Lobsterfest Foundation Board of Directors.

As the signature fundraiser for the Lobsterfest Foundation board, Lobsterfest At Newport Beach has since its inception boosted a slew of organizations and initiatives, such as the Costa Mesa and Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Clubs, Newport-Mesa Schools Foundation and the Africa Project's Bacchus Doc in a Box.

Thanks in no small part to 2012's turnout of 451 people — up from the previous year's 321 guests — the nonprofit donated $8,000 to Leadership Tomorrow and $5,000 to the local Make-A-Wish chapter.

"As the Lobsterfest At Newport Beach grows, we will support other worthwhile charities in Orange County," Brown remarked.

This event strikes Rebecca Kwait as "wonderful" because it represents a community's commitment to helping its children. The development manager for Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire expressed gratitude that the organization was earmarked as a charity of choice for the second year in a row.

At the conclusion of the upcoming Lobsterfest, she will, like last year, present organizers with a plaque bearing a photograph of their "wish child," his or her story and a certificate deeming the Lobster Foundation as the symbolic adopter.

To Thomas Giulioni, Newport Dunes' executive director of marketing and sales, the venue's ambience and beauty make it an ideal setting for this summer festivity. Other assets are its easily accessed location, parking capacity and variety of available spaces, he said.

"The Lobsterfest now has its own historic legacy," he said. "It's just one of those things that people want to be at every year. As soon as the event concludes, they say, 'What's the date next year? Sign me up!'"

If You Go

What: Fifth annual Lobsterfest at Newport Beach

Where: Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina, 101 N. Bayside Drive, Newport Beach

When: 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday

Cost: General admission is $55; VIP ticket is $150; children's lunch box costs $20

Information: http://www.lobsterfestatnewportbeach.com

[For the record, 4:54 p.m. Aug. 8: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that 2,000 lobsters will be used for the annual Lobsterfest at Newport Beach. In fact, an estimated 1,000 lobsters will be flown in for the event.]

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