Sea chantey singer, Frank Hendricks of Stout, will be performing on both days of Oyster Festival 2007, Oct. 13 and 14.
The countdown is beginning for the 24th Annual Oyster Festival. Be sure to save the dates! The 2007 Oyster Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14. It is the East Coasts largest waterfront festival, and you can look forward to meeting swashbuckling, fun loving pirates again, as they look for hidden treasure.
This year, the co-chairs are Rotarians Judy Wasilchuk of Century 21 Laffey Associates and Paul Rosen, director of communications for Oyster Bay Manor and Harbor House. Rotarian Beverly Zembko of the Oyster Bay Co-operative Play School is again heading the food court which brings local nonprofit organizations out before the public to raise money for their charity giving. James Fuccio, Esq. said, "I'm happy to be the [new] president of the Rotary Club of Oyster Bay that sponsors the annual festival. The Oyster Festival is a very positive thing for the not-for-profits that benefit from it."
Alex Gallego, Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce president, said, "We are very excited because we've been so warmly welcomed by the Oyster Festival committee and by Paul Rosen, specifically. Paige Dawson, our vice president, is on the Oyster Festival committee.
"We will be having a very nice presence in the food court and are looking forward, enthusiastically to working with the Oyster Festival Committee and the Oyster Festival Charitable Foundation to make this the very best it can be. We will have some very tasty and delicious food to serve. We will have pulled pork sandwiches and an array of goodies that will go along with it - but we are keeping the details hush-hush so we can surprise everybody."
This year the Doubleday Babcock Senior Center will again be in the food court, said Gail Speranza, DBSC executive director. "We will be there with our New England and Manhattan clam chowder and our clam fritters. They are the best in the world clam fritters. Frank M. Flower & Sons, Inc. donates the clams and we shuck and grind the clams and prepare out own secret batter!"
She said their Oyster Festival booth is, "An organization effort. All the seniors pitch in. We have so many volunteers that come out. It's an intergenerational event. That whole food court is all community nonprofits. It's a great community event."
Ms. Speranza said Rotarian Len Rothberg of the EGC Group, whose firm does the marketing of the festival, is wonderful. "He was the program at last week's Rotary meeting." He told people about what was being planned including that they are again working with the LIRR to bring people directly into the festival by train.
"It's just so well-coordinated," said Ms. Speranza.
This is the first Oyster Festival that Tom Reardon is not directly involved in as chair. For many years he was involved as a member of the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce; today he is doing it as a Rotarian, the group that currently oversees the not-for-profit benefit event. Still, he said, "I am still involved but someone else is running it. I do whatever I am asked to do." That includes helping with the site coordination. The festival will again extend into the Western Waterfront along West End Avenue.
The not-for-profits will be there again. "We can't put food booths along the way to the long pier. The state regulates what goes on state property. They have strict regulations on what you can do and not do on state property." The Western Waterfront is owned by the NYS DEC and the Town of Oyster Bay.
On a personal note, speaking as "Joe Ordinary Citizen" he said, "While the gazebo is a nice addition [the general public didn't know it was going to be there], it could have been a little bigger - that's my own personal opinion."
Mr. Reardon said, "The petting zoo will be bigger and better this year. We are still searching for a tall ship but that is normal. By tomorrow [Aug. 14] we might have wrapped that up. Their plans change rapidly depending on various conditions, including the weather, and their itinerary."
Gaye Verdi, the WaterFront Center executive director, said they are working on getting tall ships to the Oyster Festival. As Mr. Reardon explained earlier, it is not an easy thing to do. She explained that a regular at the Oyster Festival, the Kalmar Nyckel of Wilmington, Delaware, will not be able to attend this year. "She owes her port-city certain days of attendance and there is a big ship event happening in Baltimore," she said.
But there will be other ships there without a doubt. Ms. Verdi said, "We will have the T/V Liberator, from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. She will be available for tours.
"We will also have a sea chantey singer, Frank Hendricks of Stout, performing both days. He is just a wonderful man. He did a two-hour program for our little kids about Sea Chanteys. He did it for our Sound Swashbucklers, our third- and fourth-grade campers. The kids happened to be well-informed and asked great questions. They wanted to know what languages the Sea Chanteys were sung in. One boy asked if they were sung in Yiddish, another asked about Dutch or French," she added.
Ms. Verdi said they are trying to get Liberty Clipper to tie up during the Oyster Festival. "Their 'John Hancock' has not hit the papers as yet. It is a big ship and we might pull it off. There will certainly be boats there, it is just a question of tall ships."
Still she is hopeful and the story is a familiar one over the years.
A.K.A. "Oyster" Reardon said, "The Oyster Festival is always changing. This year again we are getting different attractions for people's enjoyment." The Oyster Festival always has good reason to make headlines.
The first media date for this year's festival is Tuesday, Aug. 14. Watch for more information next week. According to the promoters, "The Oyster Festival is an annual two-day celebration of the community's most precious asset - the oyster. Each year, approximately 200,000 visitors from throughout the tri-state area make the pilgrimage to our beautiful and historic village of Oyster Bay, for family fun, food and festivities under the auspices of the Oyster Bay Rotary. This year's Oyster Festival celebrates its 24th Anniversary, and will host a variety of culinary, entertainment and shopping features, including an exotic petting zoo, interactive pirate treasure hunt, best of the food court contest and more. Proceeds from the event assist approximately 30 community nonprofit organizations."
For more information log on to: The Oysterfestival.org