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Editorial: Congratulations To The Oyster Festival Committee

How can you write about something, over and over again? The reason is that things are never the same. Each happening is unique unto itself and tells another story.

We’ve written about the Oyster Festival since the second or third year. We remember a photo taken by then-Oyster Bay Enterprise Pilot editor Susan Francy-Jenkins of Irwin Tantleff, then owner of the Foodtown in Oyster Bay when he ran in a race held at the opening of the first festival. Today the Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor’s 5-K race has taken that slot.

When the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce gave up the festival and Rotary took it over, it then spread out to the waterfront. That was also when Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto said they could use Theodore Roosevelt Park, before the town always said no, they would damage the grounds.

Then the tall ships came in. They even came in the year there was no sponsor for them. That year Karen DeVine, then-Oyster Festival chair said they would fund the ship to keep up the tradition. Today, the Western Waterfront pier has the Peacemaker, the John J. Harvey, the Christeen and the Shark tied up to the dock.

We remember when the crafts were displayed along West Main Street. We remember the year they were put into Firemen’s Field and the wind was so strong it knocked down a few tents on the outer edges of the area. Now the Oyster Festival has two giant white tents joined by a large Clear Span tent and filled with 140 vendors.

This year we decided to keep a watch on what we called the Oyster Festival countdown to see how things were going. We visited the park on Thursday and saw the food court set up. On Friday we saw more of the sponsors tents going up. The Cummerford Zoo had been set up. As we drove along West End Avenue we saw the wooden arch for the Kings of the Coast pirates was being put into place.

All and all it was mind-boggling. Awesome. Amazing. As we drove out of the park, we spotted Paul Rosen and Kristin Reardon, Oyster Festival co-chairs on the corner of Larabee Avenue and Bay Avenue, directing traffic at the moment and all we could think of was what a giant undertaking they were in charge of creating.

Seeing the festival with all the visitors walking around you sort of see the trees and not the forest. Seeing the festival without people you get a chance to see the forest — the big picture. It is easier to focus on just how large the Oyster Festival actually is.

When speaking to the captain of the Peacemaker, Larry Clinton, we told him the festival goers who board his ship for a tour will be very nice, patient people. They will be happy to be here in Oyster Bay and are great guests. Oyster Bay welcomes them and they come to enjoy themselves and have fun.

It is all wonderful.

What we just want to do is offer our appreciation of all the work entailed in making the Oyster Festival happen. That list of committee members we published in our festival brochure, do a great job.

We tip our hats to them! We salute them! We admire them and we thank them on behalf of the local non-profits and the visitors who come to enjoy this great event. Congratulations on having done a great job, a great public service — which is why it is so good that the Rotary, a service organization, is at the heart of the festival!

— DFK