Harry Pinkerton, longtime resident of Oyster Bay put it succinctly: "The Oyster Festival is great. It brings more money into the community than all of the other combined events together. It's greater for the community than St. Rocco's. That is for one specific charity - the St. Dominic Schools.
"The Oyster Festival offers anyone (in the community) who wants to raise money from a crowd of outsiders to do it.
"It's a great inconvenience for everyone - but it is well worth it," he said. "I can't get out of my driveway. But the purpose is a common one and the whole community is invited to participate," he said. Mr. Pinkerton, in his 82 years has been involved in a great deal of giving himself. He is a past district governor of Rotary International and a past president of the Oyster Bay Rotary Club.
His imprimatur puts the festival in perspective. It is the same perspective the chamber uses. It is for the benefit of the local community and businesses.
To keep it local is difficult. That everybody wants to get in the act - is the easiest way to characterize what happens.
Outside food vendors call the chamber regularly, said Kathy Wilson, festival promoter. "They say they have to be at the festival because they have the best something or other. 'We'll make your festival,' they say."
The answer is a polite "no thank you." That job belongs to the local non-profits, she says.
Having guidelines is what defines the festival and helps run it. This year, in response to a request from the police the chamber is fine-tuning merchant participation in the festival. They have sent out a letter informing them of the need of a permit for the festival, to make everything run smoothly.
The letter states:
The 16th Annual Oyster Festival is fast approaching. This year the festival will be held on Oct. 16 and 17.
The chamber of commerce through its Oyster Festival Committee is working very hard to make this event even more successful than it has been in the past. They are consistently striving to maintain high standards and to promote our community. Since they are a business association they want to ensure that local businesses realize the greatest benefit possible from this annual event.
Their goal is to highlight the businesses in town and to encourage the many visitors to return to use Oyster Bay establishments.
In the interest of ensuring the character of the festival and the protection of Oyster Bay businesses, guidelines are needed. In order to protect everyone from the non-local vendors who try each year to piggyback the sale of their products on the streets during the event, the Nassau County Police Department has asked the chamber to provide identification to vendors who are peddling their wares within the chamber's guidelines.
All identification are limited to businesses in the hamlet of Oyster Bay, who wish to place items on the sidewalks and public right of ways adjacent to their property for sale or advertisement. The intent is to provide a coordinated effort in order to ensure a profitable venture for all and to ensure that the festival remains an event for the town.
If you are planning to sell any goods or food on the sidewalk in front of or adjacent to the business you will want to secure this identification. If you wish further information on how to receive your identification contact the chamber office at 922-6464.
The letter is signed by Chamber President Karen DeVine-Minicozzi, of the DeVine Funeral Home, Inc., chair of the festival and Scott Davis of Oyster Bay Dodge, the co-chair of the event, as spokespersons for the Oyster Festival Committee. Kathy Wilson is the festival promoter.