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Same But Always New Oyster Festival

A festival devoted to helping charities exceeds expectations

There were new things and old things at Oyster Festival 29. The Oyster Festival Shucking Contest was again won by David Mahnken of Melville. He shucked 35 oysters in the allotted four minutes and for the tenth time came out the winner. Something new was the winner of the Oyster Eating Contest, Abraham Ozdemir of Manhattan. This was the first time he devoured oysters.

Something else new at the festival were the T-shirts on sale at The Ida May Project in J Building on West End Avenue. Based on an original design Gregory Druhak had created for Butler Flower in the late 1970s, volunteer Jack Hoyt ordered shirts that featured the Ida May Project logo on both the front and the back. 

The profile drawing of the Ida May was originally made at the suggestion of Ida May Captain Richard Townsend and the first shirts were intended to be used only by the crews and dock workers at Frank M. Flower and Sons (FMF). Mr. Druhak bought the shirts wholesale in Boston and made the screen in his darkroom. Captain Townsend funded the effort. Captain Townsend and Mr. Druhak together hand silk-screened the initial 80 T-shirts on Mr. Druhak’s mother’s ironing board in his basement.

Butler’s granddaughter, Joan Valentine, introduced the design to the public several years later at the 1985 Oyster Festival where the T-shirt was used to raise money to help provide food necessities for people in and around the Oyster Bay area. Butler Flower felt it was very important that no one in his community go hungry. Subsequently, the shirts were sold for many years at the FMF booth at each Oyster Festival and raised many thousands of dollars to benefit the Celia Flower Pantry. 

Clint Smith, president of the Ida May Project said they still have some of their T-shirts available. “We did sell a couple of prints too,” he said.

The prints of the Ida May are by artist Ken Marcell and are done in mixed media. They are available both framed and unframed. They are 22.5” x 19.75” for $125; and 17” x 10.25” for $115. (Call 922-0458 for information.)

Mr. Smith said Saturday they had a bigger volume of visitors to the Ida May Project. “People were drawn in by the DeLoreans we had on exhibit in the shipyard. They came in to look at the cars and then the wives grabbed them to come inside and see the boats. We had people explaining about the work. It turned out very well for us,” he said.

One of the visitors looked at the boat and asked if they were building an ark? A volunteer said, “No, that’s happening over the hill at Planting Fields where they are building an ark for the movie Noah that will star Russell Crowe. Here we’re building an oyster boat.” The woman said she had been in Israel and saw a 3,000 year relic and this boat — with all its ribs showing, looked the same.

The DeLoreans were a very successful way to bring people into J Building. There were young kids who never saw the car before or even knew the movie it was featured in, Back to the Future, which starred Michael Fox. If that didn’t interest the visitors, there was a sawmill operating where they were cutting wood for the boat.

The festival is all about charity and the Ida May Project is in need of funds, so it qualified as a good cause.

A Great Committee

Something old at the festival is the great work of the Oyster Festival committee.

The festival happens seamlessly as a result of the planning of the committee members. They meet monthly starting in November and meet weekly from August as the festival date gets closer, with problems solved as they come up. “It’s a well-oiled machine and everybody wants to be doing it,” said Kerry Gillick-Goldberg, festival promoter.

Co-Chair Paul Rosen runs the meetings held at Oyster Bay Manor with Co-Chair Kristin Reardon at his elbow. They were out on Friday seeing that the festival was set up as planned and the two rode around in a golf cart on Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14 seeing that everything ran smoothly.

People started arriving at the festival at about 10 a.m. although it officially opened at 11 a.m. As country music recording artist Lisa Matassa sang Star Spangled Banner, and people walking in the Tom Reardon Memorial Charity Food Court stopped still, and stood listening until she ended and they cheered and applauded the American anthem.

The food was wonderful and the cool weather kept people eating.

Another staple of the Oyster Festival is the great fried oysters sold by the Mill River Rod & Gun Club (MRRGC).

When Peter DeNacale was asked what the secret of the MRRGC fried oysters was, he said, “I told my wife that I couldn’t tell her. It almost caused a divorce.” But he added, “I’m lucky,” that his wife Kathy Fuicelli DeNacale is still with him.

Something new was the BMW of Oyster Bay booth on West End Avenue where manager Bob Federico chatted with BMW owners. They know their BMWs down pat by the numbers. As in, “It’s the 5 Series, ’89.” At the festival Bob said he had a 2011, pre-owned BMS with only 6,000 miles.

They had a bucket of Halloween candy out on the table. One lovely lady visitor and owner of a BMW confessed, “I’m addicted to Starburst candy.”

On the Western Waterfront, the something new was the Peacemaker and amazingly, something old, back for the second time was the John J. Harvey, fireboat. The Coast Guard was there again, too. They are regulars.

The car raffle winner this year comes with an endearing story. The winner, Fran Laurence of Selden won the car raffle and took the option of the $15,000. She is a part time employee in Community Outreach for Newsday, a sponsor of the festival once again. Ms. Laurence works full-time at the Long Island Developmental Disabilities Service Organization. Ms. Gillick-Goldberg said, “Fran Laurence opted for the $15,000 prize. She plans to get caught up with her mortgage payments and then take her two daughters, Celeste Montalvo (32) and Alissa Laurence (14) on a trip to visit an elderly aunt, cousins and friends in St. Maarten.”

It appears the raffle winner was a worthy recipient of the largesse of this, the largest waterfront festival on the eastern seaboard — dedicated to raising funds for charity.


In a little-known chapter of New York City’s history, the name of police officer Phillip Cardillo is spoken in hushed, revered whispers. Though he was tragically killed in the line of duty back in 1972, the burning embers of his memory are still fanned by a passionate few who wish to finally obtain for the fallen hero the elusive recognition that he truly deserves.

At their Oct. 8 meeting in Mineola, the Nassau County-based Association of Retired Police Officers (ARPO) held a heartfelt ceremony, as both Cardillo as well as the driven NYPD detective who has fought for justice in his name for the past four decades, were honored as the true heroes that they are.

In what was their last free meeting at the Community United Methodist Church of East Norwich, the East Norwich Civic Association presented a money saving/energy saving program. It was presented by Marriele Robinson of the Homeowner Support PowerUp Communities group, an outreach of the L.I. Progressive Party. She came to offer free energy evaluations of homes to make them more energy efficient, which will save money.

She said Poor Richard’s Almanac promises it to be very cold this winter, and this is a way to plug up your energy leaks, with both current savings on needed work and through rebates resulting in future savings. After an energy assessment of your home, PowerUp will present you with a report based on their contractor’s assessment, which will outline all the ways you can improve your energy efficiency. The report will include all the potential rebates to reduce the cost of the upgrade which includes the option of financing through PS&G, which will include the monthly payments in your monthly bill.


A number of awards were given to runners in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich area at the Oct. 18 Oyster Bay Town Supervisor’s 5 Kilometer Run, including 23-year-old Justin Nakrin of Oyster Bay, who finished in 12th place overall and second in the 20-24 age group, and 43-year-old Daniel Valderrama of Oyster Bay, who scored in 17th place overall and second in the 40-44 age group. Maggie Reid of Locust Valley earned first place honors in the 15-19 age group.

The indomitable 81-year-old Nina Jennings of Mill Neck was the oldest woman to finish the run, taking first place honors in the women’s 80-84 age group in 35 minutes, 11 seconds, a pace of 11:19 per mile. She was the fastest of all of the five finishers—male or female—who were 80 years old or more.

The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.

Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.


Ghastly Grounds

Thursday, October 30

Trick Or Treat

Friday, October 31

Long Island Baroque Ensemble

Sunday, November 2


1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller,

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry,

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller,