HARWICH PORT – A lobster clambake, with a side of community spirit, would go a long way in filling the void the coronavirus pandemic is creating in our dining and social habits this summer.
Outer Cape Health Services plans to help satiate these desires with its “Lobster Without the Fest” fundraiser.
In the past OCHS has held an annual Lobster Fest gala and auction event. Because of the pandemic, however, coming together and enjoying a traditional Cape Cod dinner will not be the same this year.
This would have been the 10th annual Lobster Fest, which has been held each year in Provincetown, most recently at the Pilgrim Monument. This year supporters can decide where to have that lobster clambake; at home, in the backyard or with the sun slipping away over Cape Cod Bay.
Given the need to social distance and gather only in limited numbers, OCHS looked for a way to assist local restaurants and the fishing industry while continuing to raise funds to support the OCHS community health centers in Harwich, Wellfleet and Provincetown.
“Lobster Without the Fest offers a unique way for OCHS to promote local, socially-distanced dining while also supporting our community health center programs and services, including COVID-19 testing,”said Kathleen Weiner, OCHS chief development officer. “We look forward to resuming our annual in-person Lobster Fest in 2021 at the Pilgrim Monument.”
Gerry Desautels, senior development and communications officer with OCHS, said Mac’s Chatham Fish and Lobster in Chatham, Moby Dick’s in Wellfleet and the Lobster Pot in Provincetown have stepped up to participate in this year’s event. The restaurants are well located to cover the breadth of the area of OCHS community health centers services, he said.
Participants can pre-order lobster clambake dinners online for any day from Aug. 15 through 22. The dinners are $40; participants will also be asked to make a donation to the community health centers at the same time. The dinners can be ordered on the ticket page of outercape.org/events. Specify the restaurant and call and place the order when you're ready.
Desautels said the lobster-bake dinners might be slightly different depending on the restaurant, but each will contain the traditional lobster, corn on the cob and steamers.
Amy Voll of Mac’s Seafood, the sister business to Mac’s Chatham Fish and Lobster market, said the dinner is the restaurant's general clambake-to-go, including a pound-and-a-half lobster, locally caught and landed in Chatham, locally harvested hardshell clams, and corn on the cob. It comes with butter, a plate, utensils and napkins. It’s packaged and ready to take to any dining location.
“This is a great way to support our local fishing industry,” Voll said. “We’ve helped OCHS every year up to now giving them lobsters and items for this event. OCHS has done so much. They’re helpful and responsive and do a good job taking care of the people on the Cape. We are very happy to participate. Hopefully people will come out and support them.”
The annual Lobster Fest usually includes a theme; this year it was going to be “Disco Fever. ”
Speaking to music and moving about in Provincetown in the summer months, Weiner offer one memory of a recent Lobster Fest, which usually draws about 150 people.
“In honor of the 2017 Lobsterfest Fiesta theme, we hired a mariachi band out of Rhode Island to perform,
live at the Provincetown Marina Wharf. Since the event was at the tail-end of Carnival week in Provincetown, we warned the band to allow extra travel time to the Outer Cape. Well, in spite of our warnings, they arrived nearly an hour late.
“They came in two smaller vehicles and drove right on to the pier as guests were enjoying cocktails, appetizers and a silent auction under a tent. Imagine our surprise in the unexpected ‘added’ entertainment of the sight of the band piling out of their cars half-dressed in their costumes scrambling to make up for lost time with instruments quickly in hand. The band posed for a quick picture with the event photographer and started in on a long and lively repertoire. They then moved in to take over the main stage inside the wharf. We couldn’t get them off the stage as they wanted to make up for lost time, but we had to end their performance and get on with our live auction!”
There will be no gathering for dance and no auction this year.
“Not this year. We decided this year that since the community spontaneously came to our aid earlier in the coronavirus outbreak that we would concentrate on direct donor conversations and related gifts without an auction. People need one another now more than they need ‘things’,” Desautels said.