Lobsterfest draws more than 1,000
Every year, as September comes to a close, New Canaan knows it's time for an outdoor dinner featuring a seafood treat residents of coastal and non-coastal communities appreciate: lobster.
Last weekend was no different as at least 1,000 local residents gathered outside the New Canaan Historical Society for the 29th annual New Canaan Family Lobsterfest.
About 450 lobster dinners were sold on Friday and at least 600 more were sold on Saturday. The event is sponsored by the Rotary Club of New Canaan, which distributes all proceeds to nonprofit organizations.
Robert Avery, the event's chairman, said he expected a larger turnout on Saturday, especially because of the warm weather, but the day coincided with other events in the area, including homecoming football games. Still, he said, the two-day event was a success.
"Almost everybody loves lobster," Avery said. "This is a really reasonable way to get a good lobster dinner, and (people) come here and they actually see it being cooked."
Dozens of volunteers -- including Rotary Club members, the Service League of Boys, or SLOBs, and even some town councilmen -- helped cook and serve the lobster dinners, which cost $35 and were served with corn on the cob, coleslaw, fresh rolls and a soft drink. Chicken and hot dogs were available for those who don't eat lobster. Avery said the lobsters this year came from Maine and Canada.
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The event is the club's major fundraiser and usually raises about $21,000. A final number for this year's installment was not known as of press time.
In May, the club donated $25,000 to local and non-local charities. One example, Avery said, is the HALO Trust, a landmine clearance organization. In addition, funds raised in 2012 supported delivering 3,500 slightly used shoes and boots to children in Afghanistan. That project earned the club an award for Best Rotary Club in the Connecticut District.
Avery said the organization sends out announcements about how to apply for a grant in February.
As to the success of the Lobsterfest, which will mark its 30th anniversary next year, Avery credited the New Canaan's generosity.
"The town loves to come out and get together, and they like to do something for a group like ours that gives all the money away," he said.
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