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Billed as the Midwest's largest lobster and seafood festival, the Great American Lobster Fest kicked off its first Detroit event Friday in Hart Plaza. 

Produced by Lobster Gram, a Maine lobster delivery service, the food festival runs through Sunday with whole lobster dinners and plenty of seafood delights like lobster rolls, lobster bisque, lobster-on-a-stick, loaded lobster fries, lobster mac, grilled shrimp and fish-free food like stir-fried noodles, burgers, corn-on-the-cob, alligator sausage and more. 

Similar events took place over the summer at Chicago's Navy Pier and Rivers Edge in Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

Jacob Blevins of Riverview said his "overall love of fresh seafood" is what attracted him to the festival. 

"And Mudgie's lobster rolls only come around in Detroit once a year, so we came out here," he said, referring to the popular Corktown restaurant that causes a frenzy each summer when it flies in fresh lobster daily for one week.

The Great American Lobster Fest is free to attend, and food tickets are $2 each. Food items range from 2 tickets ($4) up to 13 ($26). For example, a New England-style lobster roll is 11 tickets or $22, which is on par with what Mudgie's was charging during their lobster roll week. 

A "lobster meal experience" can be purchased in advance at americanlobsterfest.com for $39 or $89 for VIP. Prices are slightly more on site. The meal includes a choice of full lobster that is around 1.25 pounds or a lobster roll, plus corn, potatoes, dinner roll, lemons and melted butter. VIP tickets include four drinks and access to a VIP seating area. 

Festival goers can bring in chairs, but no outside food or beverages are allowed. 

Besides loads of lobster and other food, the festival has a bar, some vendors and live music. Headliners are singer Ben Sharkey 8:30 p.m. Friday, pop/rock cover band the Killer Flamingos 8:30 p.m. Saturday and blues queen Thornetta Davis at 8 p.m. Sunday. 

Lobster Fest runs until 10 p.m. Friday and resumes noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Hart Plaza on Jefferson at Woodward in Detroit. 

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

 

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