A wave of surf and turf lovers, from near and far, washed across Compo Beach on Saturday to help a good "claws."

The event was the Westport Rotary Club's 2nd annual Lobster Fest, which offered diners a choice of two lobsters or a steak, along with sides of potatoes, cole slaw, bread and melted butter.

Besides the club's annual Golf and Tennis Classic at Longshore Club in the spring, the Lobster Fest is the organization's major fundraiser of the year. The community events help raise funds to support a range of charities, generally serving the greater Westport area as well as the causes promoted by the national and international Rotary Foundation. One of those programs is the polio eradication effort that has helped reduce the incidence of polio worldwide. On average, the club raises $50,000 to support various programs. The rest of the year, the club holds weekly luncheon meetings at which guest speakers discuss topical subjects. The Westport Rotary chapter was chartered in 1924 and currently has 75 active members.

Winds, gusting in excess of 40 miles an hour off choppy Long Island Sound, add a challenging element to dining, but failed to deter the hungry horde of hundreds.

Yuko Kikuta and Michiyo Micuno traveled from New York City to attend the Lobster Fest. "We heard about the event at the Norwalk Oyster Fest," said Kikuta. "We like seafood and this area. We're having a great time. It's windy, but at least it's not raining."

Matt Lozowski of Milford and Rosalie Sciortino of Trumbull learned about Westport's the Lobster Fest at the Oyster Fest in Norwalk a few weeks ago. "We love lobster and beer ... and wine and `Dead' music," laughed Sciortino. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but here right now."

The music Sciortino referred to was performed by Grateful Dead tribute band Terrapin.

Actor Richard Wiese was among those on hand at Compo for the event, and said, "I just came back from filming in Maine. It's great to see a similar lobster bake here. It's a reminder that we are part of New England. You get a great sense of community here, too. It's a very friendly event."

Said Ed Gerber: "I'm relatively new to town. I thought this was going on for years. It's a wonderful event. You see the whole community here."