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Take Five: Meet Stephanie Murguia, Newport Beach Lobsterfest board member

By AMY SENK

For one day each August, Newport Beach channels its inner Maine with an annual Lobsterfest featuring live music (Pinch Me!), a feast including lobster (of course) along with corn on the cob, dessert, beer & wine and more. Tickets must be bought in advance (after August 5, VIP ticket sales will end, and limited general admission ticket prices will increase from $65 to $75). Check out www.lobsterfestatnewportbeach.com for more information. I caught up with Stephanie Murguia, a board member for the Lobsterfest Foundation.

Take Five Stephanie and Lido

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Lobsterfest

Stephanie Murguia and Lobsterfest’s Lido the Lobster

Q: This is the 11th Lobsterfest, but the first time at the Newport Beach Civic Center Park. Why the move?

A: The move was a result of outgrowing the footprint for the event available to us at the Newport Dunes Resort & Marina. The Newport Beach Civic Center Park offers many amenities not available to us in prior years including free parking, more space for VIP and general admission guests, and our vendors are more accessible to the guests.

Q: How many lobsters are we talking about, and how do you go about figuring out how to procure them, and how many months of planning go into organizing and running this often sold-out event?

A: Planning this event starts the day after the event. The event sells out because the lobster is shipped fresh from Maine the night before the event. Our lobsters have to be ordered five days in advance of the event. The lobsters are ordered by the pound; each lobster weighs between 1 and 1.5 pounds. The general admission ticket includes one Maine lobster, and then we calculate three pounds of lobster for each VIP ticket sold. Typically, our lobster order is between 1,800 to 2,000 pounds.

Q: What’s your favorite Lobsterfest memory, or what’s the craziest thing that ever happened at a Lobsterfest?

A: The craziest thing was a guest trying to sneak out of the event with 13 lobsters under her coat. Security was called to get the lobsters back. The VIP ticket is for lobsters to be consumed on site. We do not offer take out.

Q: There’s a chartable aspect to Lobsterfest – can you tell me more about the charities involved and how this works?

A: Lobsterfest supports the Leadership Tomorrow scholarship fund, grants a wish for Make-A-Wish Orange County Inland Empire and Les Dames d’ Escoffier Los Angeles/Orange County. Lobsterfest makes cash donations to New Directions for Women in Costa Mesa, Costa Mesa High School High School Cheerleaders, Corona del Mar High School football team and the Newport Beach Police Explorers. As the event grows, the Lobsterfest Foundation will be looking to support new charities.

Q: Do you ever eat lobster other times of the year? Is it your favorite food?

A: I do eat lobster other times of the year. Yes, lobster is a shellfish favorite of mine. Interestingly enough, I purchase a VIP ticket every year, and I am so busy at the event that I rarely get to eat a lobster.

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Amy Senk is a long-time resident of Corona del Mar and a regualar contributor to Stu News Newport.