Tag Archives: Lobsterfest

Pic Of The Day #1980

One more look at Saturday’s Rotary club LobsterFest: inside the cracking tent (Photo/Dave Matlow)

LobsterFest!

It took years for the Memorial Day parade and 4th of July fireworks to become Westport institutions.

It’s taken LobsterFest just about 10.

The Westport Rotary Club’s mega-fundraiser has become one of the hottest tickets (on an always-perfect mid-September Saturday).

There’s something (lobsters, oysters, steak, burgers, beer, wine, soda, music, kids’ stuff) for everyone. What began as an event for Rotarians and their friends has become a party for folks of all ages. This year’s LobsterFest drew more families, with more young kids, than ever.

The goal was to raise $200,000 — for the Rotary Club to distribute to many worthy causes, in Fairfield County and around the globe.

If the lines of cars and crowds are any indication, they made it.

And if the smiles and full stomachs are any indication of what the event means to Westport — well, mark your calendars now for Lobsterfest 2023!

The money shot.

Quick service, with big smiles.

You can’t have lobster without clams.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker helped pour some cold ones …

… as did this bipartisan crew of Planning & Zoning chair Danielle Dobin, and 2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore.

There were plenty of non-alcoholic drinks. (“Liquid Death” is of course sparkling water.)

LobsterFest drew older Westporters …

… and several generations …

… and members of Norwalk Rotary too.

The band played on …

… and Mr. Bumbles played to the kids’ crowd.

Volunteers from Sustainable Westport made sure that nearly every bit of trash was recycled properly.

Hook’d provided the ice cream. Their sign, though, was a bit of wishful thinking.

This sign covered all the bases …

… while this one was great for the Westport Rotary Club, not so great for anyone without a ticket. (All photos/Dan Woog)

(Like LobsterFest, “06880” serves the entire community. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog.)

Roundup: Suicide Support Group, Sustainable Westport, Savvy + Grace …

A new (and free) support group — “Alternatives to Suicide: Navigating the Darkness Together” — launches October 4. The group meets Tuesdays (7 p.m., 90 Post Road West).

Sponsored by Positive Directions, it’s a safe, non-clinical and peer-led space where people 18 and older can talk openly and non-judgmentally. about suicide thoughts, attempts or experiences like self-harm.

Positive Directions says, “We do not assume suicidal thoughts are connected to mental illness, and you do not need to be experiencing a current crisis to attend. No referrals or connection to mental health services is needed.

People are welcome to show up to a meeting, or call 203-227-7644 or email akernan@positivedirections.org for more information.

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Today’s LobsterFest will draw 1,500 people to Compo Beach. There are lobsters, steaks, beer, wine — and plenty of waste.

The sponsoring Westport Rotary Club is on it. Lobster shells will be recycled (after de-banding); bottles are recyclable, and there’s plenty of composting.

An added element: Sustainable Westport will host informational stations throughout the event. Attendees can learn all about our town’s Zero Weaste and Net Zero initiatives, and how they can help.

Lobsterfest is always a good time. Today, it’s educational too.

Sustainable Westport’s waste stations, at last week’s Slice of Saugatuck.

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Last month, “06880” reported on the kerfuffle involving outdoor tables at Nômade (the new Main Street restaurant replacing Tavern on Main) and Savvy + Grace (the gifts-and-more store on the street level, underneath the eatery).

Shoppers have had a narrow path to the store – until yesterday.

In 13 years of publishing “06880,” I’ve posted dozens of photos of entitled drivers. This is the first one of an entitled bicyclist:

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Yesterday’s “Westport … Naturally” photo showed a beautiful caterpillar, about to become an even more beautiful butterfly.

Today’s illustrates nature in action: a monarch butterfly being devoured by a praying mantis.

It’s a gorgeous world out there. But it’s a jungle, too.

(Photo/Melissa Crouch Chang)

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And finally … It took 62 years. But on this day in 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first Black Miss America.

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(“06880” is Westport’s hyper-local blog. Please click here to support our work.)

Roundup: LobsterFest, Woodside Bash, Ride + Walk …

Tickets for Westport Rotary Club’s LobsterFest (this Saturday, September 17, Compo Beach, 3 to 7 p.m.). are all sold out.

But individual donations are still welcome to help fund the Rotarians’ many great projects.

And volunteers are still needed, to help throw Westport’s greatest crustacean-focused event.

Click here to donate; then click “Please Donate or Sponsor.”

Use the same link to volunteer; then click on “Sign up As a Volunteer. Volunteers will be offered a hamburger and unlimited drinks at no charge.

LobsterFest volunteers

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There’s still time to sign up for Sunday’s William Raveis Ride + Walk (September 18, Calf Pasture Park, Norwalk, 8 a.m.).

The event includes 2 bike rides (12 and 24 miles), a 5K walk (or run), and a 100-yard dash for kids.

Sign up as part of the “Way to Go Westport” (as a Westport office participant), or form your own team. Click here to register, and for more details.

All proceeds go directly to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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Tickets are going fast for Earthplace’s party under the stars.

Woodside Bash is set for Saturday, October 1 (7 to 10 p.m.). The night includes enjoy a harvest dinner, an open bar, signature cocktails, live music  (Pimpinella returns for the 4th year in a row), and (of course) a mechanical bull.

Click here for tickets and more information.

The next day (Sunday, October 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), Earthplace hosts a family-friendly Fall Festival. Among the attractions: apple slingshot, donut on a string, climbing wall, animal encounters, food trucks and more. Tickets can be bought that day, or in advance here.

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Eating disorder specialist Erica Adler joins with registered dieticians Alyssa Lavy and Amy Schwarz have created a special group for teenagers who struggle with self-esteem as it relates to body image. It meets weekly, starting September 22 at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, email hellonorthstarwellness@gmail.com, or call 203-246-7615.

Erica Adler

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There were smiles all around at yesterday’s ribbon-cutting for Bridgewater Chocolates. The new business — Westport’s 3rd chocolate shop — is located in Parker Harding Plaza, near GG & Joe’s.

And why wouldn’t everyone be smiling? As soon as the ribbon was cut, there were samples for all.

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Not far from Bridgewater Chocolates, magic of another kind took place.

A crew from Terrain got down and dirty, making sure the planters outside Mrs. London’s Bakery look autumnally great.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Those planters are parts of Westport we take for granted. But they don’t just happen.

They take real work — the kind that’s seldom seen. Unless you’re in the right place, at the right time.

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Happy Panda Mandarin School opened 12 years ago, in the basement of a Weston home. It grew quickly, and relocated to Wilton.

Now it’s moved again: to 2nd floor space in Westport’s Nash’s Plaza (179 Post Road West).

Classes include Chinese HSK (1-6 levels), Chinese Made Easy (1-4 levels), Writing and Homework Help.

For more information click here, email info@hpmandarinschool.org, or call 203-291-9228. (Hat tip: Felicia Catale)

Happy student at Happy Panda.

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The Black Feathers make a rare local appearance October 1 (8 p.m.). They’ll be a Voices Café, at the Unitarian Church.

Both the UK duo and the church share a strong commitment to social justice. A portion of the proceeds of the concert benefit community organizations including anti-racism, identity and equity, and immigration and refugee efforts, plus local programs that serve under-resourced communities.

Click here for in-person or livestream tickets.

The Black Feathers

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Seen on this port-a-potty on Caccamo Lane:

The handmade sign says: “NO dog poop bags in portable toilet or dumpsters.”

The bottom line adds: “Are you kidding?”

The potty is on a private work site, in a residential neighborhood. It shouldn’t be too much to ask area residents to 1) clean up after your dog, and then 2) dispose of your dog poop at your own home.

No s—.

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Leaves are not the only things that awe us with their fall (well, almost) colors.

Danielle Dobin spotted this beautiful “Westport … Naturally” sight yesterday, on Compo Beach Road:

(Photo/Danielle Dobin)

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And finally … famed saxophonist and bandleader Cannonball Adderley was born on this day in 1928. He died in 1975, just 46, after a stroke.

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. Please click here to support our work.)

LobsterFest: Huge Town Party Needs Cooks, Crackers And More

It may be the biggest party in town.*

Tickets are going fast LobsterFest — the September 17 lobster/steak/ drinks/music/kids’ activities blowout at Compo Beach.

In fact, by the time this is posted it may already be sold out.

But you can still go. Just sign up to volunteer!

It takes many hands to put on the massive fundraiser. (Which raises massive funds. This year’s goal is $200,000, to help dozens of charitable projects in Fairfield County and around the world.)

Besides all those hard-working Rotarians, folks of all ages are needed to greet the 1,500 guests, crack lobsters, prep other food, cook, pour beer and wine, carry trays for seniors, sell raffle tickets, etc. etc., etc. haul trash

And of course, help set up and clean up.

LobsterFest volunteers

It’s a true community-wide event. And besides giving much-needed aid, volunteers can enjoy it too. They get a burger or hot dog, a drink ticket, a cool t-shirt — and share in the camaraderie of a fun, truly feel-good day.

The Rotary Club has thought of everything, to make LobsterFest sizzle. The mid-September date ensures that the lobsters have finished shedding their old shells, so they’re especially big.

Texas Roadhouse returns to cook the steaks, to perfection. There are several great beer vendors, and non-alcoholic drinks.

The Rotary Club takes sustainability seriously. Lobster shells are recycled (after de-banding); bottles are recyclable, and there’s plenty of composting.

There are more tents than ever, and — for those worried about COVID — a drive-thru option, to pick up your surf-and-turf.

The band HRMB will play its popular classic rock. Youngsters will love Daisy Mae and Mr. Bumbles — noted entertainers on the kids’ circuit.

Chowing down at last year’s LobsterFest.

But, Rotary officials emphasize: It can’t happen without volunteer help.

Many hands make light work.

And 3,000 lobsters broil.

(LobsterFest is Saturday, September 17, from 3 to 7 p.m. Click here to volunteer. Click here for tickets, if available. There are still spots for sponsors, too. Email ganderson24@optonline.net for more information.)

*Besides the June 30th fireworks.

(Like LobsterFest, “06880” relies on community support. Please click here to help.)

Pics Of The Day #1614

1,500 starved people packed Compo Beach yesterday for the Rotary Club’s annual Lobsterfest. They were hungry for lobsters, steaks — and the fantastic party atmosphere they’d missed when last September’s event was canceled (and, in many other ways, since the pandemic began. Great food, wonderful people, fantastic weather, an excellent cause — what’s not to like? (Photo/Dan Woog)

Earlier yesterday, Yogi Bear and friends enjoyed the Japanese Festival at Jesup Green. (Photo/Cathy Malkin)

Roundup: Bill Clinton, LobsterFest, Rugby …

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Last month, the Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA championship.

This weekend, the trophy came to Westport.

Billionaire owner Marc Lasry — he also dabbles in hedge funds — hosted a party at his Greens Farms home.

Former Fox News, NBC Sports and CNN TV personality — a fellow Westporter — was there.

From right: Dave Briggs, Marc Lasry and Briggs’ son Will pose with the NBA trophy.

So was a non-Westporter, from just over the New York border in Chappaqua.

Former President Bill Clinton is a longtime friend of Lasry’s. And — presumably — the Milwaukee Bucks.

Former President Bill Clinton and Dave Briggs, at Marc Lasry’s Westport home.

PS: Other big names in attendance: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, players Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton, head coach Mike Budenholzer, and CNBC’s Scott Wapner.

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Westport civic organizations sponsor many good fundraisers. A lot of them are fun.

But for money raised and good times, it’s hard to beat Westport Rotary‘s LobsterFest.

The early fall feast-and-more returns to Compo Beach for its 10th year on Saturday, September 18 (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), following last year’s COVID cancellation.

LobsterFest is a townwide event. Food and entertainment from the Hot Rubber Monkey Band bring old friends together. It’s a great chance to meet (and welcome) newcomers too.

Children’s activities include a magician, glitter tattoos and face painting.

In past years, LobsterFest volunteers served 2,400 lobsters, 300 steaks and 1,600 ears of corn, and countless raw oysters.

In addition to the usual waterside dining option, there’s a new drive-through option for anyone wishing to eat their delicious Maine lobsters (and/or large steaks) at home, or at a less crowded part of the beach.

Funds support dozens of Rotary grants to local non-profits like Mercy Learning and Child Guidance of Mid-Fairfield County, plus humanitarian projects worldwide.

It’s a great value: $70 per person for 2 large lobsters or a 14-ounce New York strip steak — and corn, cole slaw, bread and butter, potato salad, Peppermint Patties, and all the beer or wine you can drink.

Tickets are available only in advance, online at www.westportrotary.org and directly from Westport Rotary Club members.

In 2016, not much remained of the 3,000 lobsters.

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For one day yesterday, Westport was the center of the rugby universe.

A special pre-draft event drew Major League Rugby scouts, coaches and star players, including Ben Foden to Staples High School’s Paul Lane Field. 

There was physical testing, professional coaching, laser timing and live scrimmaging. It was just like the NFL Combine, without the NFL Network cameras.

It was broadcast on the Rugby Network, however. And TV personality/ Westporter Dave Briggs was there. (It was not the biggest event of his weekend, though. See story above.)

He reports: “I was blown away by the strength (29 reps x 225 pounds), speed and toughness of these dudes. If I wasn’t so damn old and broken, I’d love to try.”

Click below for his interview with international star Ben Foden, and more.

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Everyone loves the Westport Farmers’ Market.

Here’s your chance to put your (well, someone else’s) money where your (well-satisfied) mouth is.

The WFM has made it to the final round of the American Farmland Trust’s 13th annual contest, ranking the best farmers’ markets in the country. The winner gets $2,500; 2nd and 3rd prizes are $1,500 and $1,000.

Click here to vote. The deadline is September 19.

And don’t forget to visit the Westport Farmers’ Market, every Thursday (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Imperial Avenue parking lot) through November.

The Westport Farmers’ Market appeals to all ages. Let’s make it #1 in the country! (Photo/Margaret Kraus)

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From rugby to rockin’ the Levitt. Chicago native Isaiah Sharkey brought his gospel, jazz, R&B, blues, rock and funk music to the riverside pavilion last night.

A Grammy winner, he’s recorded and toured with John Mayer, Patti LaBelle, Paul Simon, Keith Urban, Boyz II Men, the Winans and many others.

Isaiah Sharkey

It did not take long for the crowd to dance.

(Photos/JC Martin)

This week’s Levitt lineup:

  • Tonight (Sunday, August 8): Mimi & the Podd Brothers
  • Tuesday, August 10: Tony Trischka, Banjo Master
  • Wednesday, August 11: Elena Moon Park & Friends
  • Thursday, August 12: The Sweet Remains
  • Friday, August 13: Baskin & Batteau, and Jesse Terry
  • Saturday, August 14: The Simple Radicals
  • Sunday, August 15: Dan Levinson’s Palomar Jazz Band

Click here for times and (free) tickets.

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From tomorrow (Monday, August 9) through Sunday, August 15, the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force is collecting back-to-school supplies. They’ll go to residents of the 2 Domestic Violence Crisis Center safe houses in the area.

Items needed include new and unused backpacks and lunch boxes, notebooks, pens, pencils, highlighters, crayons, graphing calculators, and diapers.

Donations can be left in the collection bin in the lobby of the Westport Police station, 50 Jesup Road.

For information on Westport Domestic Violence Task Force initiatives, click here.

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Work continues on what is rumored to be an Amazon Go store. That’s the new grab-and-go technology. There are no checkout lines; you pay via an app.

The old Barnes & Noble — and Marshalls shoe store next door — has been gutted.

Meanwhile, the adjacent former Mobil Self-Serve has finally been leveled.

(Photos/Dan Woog)

On Wednesday, the Board of Selectmen were slated to vote on a temporary exit from the construction site, onto Morningside Drive South. Neighbors objected, citing safety issues with nearby Greens Farms Elementary School. The item has been withdrawn from the agenda.

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Local to Market continues to offer fresh, locally grown produce on Saturdays, on its patio at the former Talbots by the Main Street entrance to Parker Harding Plaza.

Shoppers enjoyed these selections yesterday:

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Time again for “Westport … Naturally” to feature a deer.

Hey — we’ve got plenty of deer. Not to mention, deer photos.

(Photo/Karen Weingarten)

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And finally … today is August 8. You know: 8/8. So of course this is our song of the day.

PS: It’s one of many that have been called “the first rock ‘n’ roll record ever.” I’m not going to wade into that swamp.

LobsterFest Canceled — But Support Still Strong

Westport Rotary Club’s annual LobsterFest is one of the town’s great events.

Held at Compo Beach in late September — when the weather is great, and the lobsters (and steaks) are even greater — it’s the perfect way for 1,600 folks to celebrate the end of summer.

It’s also one of the biggest Rotary fundraisers in Connecticut. 100% of the proceeds go to 35 area nonprofits that address poverty, education and social needs, and other development programs overseas.

As the sun set on Lobster Fest in 2016, no one wanted to leave.

LobsterFest is one more cherished tradition to fall victim to COVID-19. But the 9th annual event is not going away.

Many sponsors have already decided it’s too important to drop. They’re contributing their usual amounts, so that Rotary can continue to support so many causes.

Westport Rotary president Leslie Roberts says, “It is important to us to make a responsible decision that considers our community and the sponsors who generously support us. Eradicating disease is a priority for Rotary clubs around the world. As Rotarians, we decided the best choice in the current environment is to cancel the physical LobsterFest event.”

In its place rises “2020 LobsterFest: A Charitable Fundraiser.” Donations from sponsors and would-be guests will honored with banners and lawn signs around Westport, and in media releases and ads.

There’s plenty of time to donate. The deadline is October 30. But you can do it right now — just click here.

(Rotary Club lunch meetings are being conducted virtually via Zoom, 3 Tuesdays a month from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Membership inquiries are welcome: leslie2of8@gmail.com or fidesmo@aol.com.

A few of the 3,000 lobsters.

 

Keep Summer Going, With Saturday’s Lobsterfest

Just when you think all the fun summer stuff — cookouts, clambakes, beach parties — is over, up pops the Lobsterfest.

Sponsored by Westport Rotary, it’s become a last-gasp-of-the-season tradition. The’s 6th annual event — set for this Saturday (September 16, 3 to 7 p.m.) — includes food hundreds of folks love: a choice of 2 humongous lobsters or a 14-ounce strip steak, plus all the fixings.

It’s a block party without the block. Instead, over 1,000 people fill Compo Beach. It’s a fantastic way to catch up with those you haven’t seen since the last Lobsterfest, and meet newcomers too.

Thanks to volunteer efforts of the noontime and Sunrise Rotaries, and organizations like Staples’ Service League of Boys, National Charity League and Builders Beyond Borders, the event raises an enormous amount of money. It’s promptly redistributed to local, regional and international service agencies.

Rick Benson — shown here in costume — started the Westport Rotary Lobsterfest in 2012.

But this year’s Lobsterfest has some special wrinkles too.

There’s a new first platinum sponsor — the Shoreline Group from Morgan Stanley — and new gold sponsor (Melissa & Doug).

There’s a new band: Oh Cassius! (the exclamation point is part of their name!).

Craft beer is provided by 5 Connecticut breweries, along with a new selection of wines courtesy of Westport Wine & Spirits. Donations were arranged by Alex Cohen, Rotary Club member and his fellow Staples High grad, Casey Dohme, owner of the Blind Rhino bar in Norwalk.

The cash raw bar is enhanced with local Hummock Island oysters, and — for the first time — shrimp cocktail. Professional oyster shuckers will be on hand too.

After last year’s event, not much remained of the 3,000 lobsters.

A tasting tent should entice lovers of McCallan single malt scotch and specialty cocktails.

Kids can enjoy new entertainment, and meals from Joey’s by the Shore — with kids’ serving trays.

As always, Lobsterfest goes on rain or shine (to-go boxes are available). Tickets must be purchased in advance, from Rotarians, at Joey’s, or online here.

Get your bib on!