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Lobster Races scheduled to return to Aiken in 2020

February 9, 2019

A crustacean competition that used to be a spring tradition in Aiken is scheduled to return in 2020.

The Lobster Races will be held the evening of May 1, the day before the Kentucky Derby, said co-founder Todd Stilp in a telephone interview Friday.

The 30th and most recent edition of the Lobster Races was in 2014. There were children’s rides, live music and a community stage for performances in addition to the races, which took place in a transparent tank.

“After 30 years, we reached a point where it was time to sit there and let everything unwind for a while,” Stilp said. “With the downtown dynamics changing and the marketplace changing, the event was due for an update. When we stopped it, our intention was always to revive it and bring it back.”

During the hiatus, Stilp and the other Lobster Races co-founders, Chuck Martin and Stu Maurice, have been laying the groundwork for the event’s return.

“We’ve discussed it behind the scenes with key people,” Stilp said. “Bringing in my children and Chuck’s children will help take it to the next level.”

Preparing for each edition of the Lobster Races typically takes 14 to 16 months, so that is why the event’s co-founders are letting people know more than a year in advance about the comeback.

“There are many moving parts involved because we work with so many organizations and different groups,” said Stilp, who is the longtime event director for the Lobster Races. “It is virtually impossible to rush. We need time for everybody to get up to speed together.”

The Lobster Races co-founders hope to make more details of their plan for the 2020 revival available to the public in late April of this year.

“Sponsors from the past and people who were involved before will be able to contact us if they want to participate again,” Stilp said. “We’re going to be updating all of our contact information. Our goal is to have new and improved Lobster Races in 2020.”

Another name that organizers used for the Lobster Races over the years is the Great American Lobster Race.

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