Food, wares, entertainment to hit Mattapoisett for Harbor Days

Jul 8, 2019

MATTAPOISETT — Harbor Days is classic summer fun for a good cause.

Mattapoisett Lions Club runs the event, and uses the funds that it brings in for service projects at the local, national and international levels. Lions club members from nearby communities such as the Rochester Lions sometimes come to help out at the fair.

From year to year individual crafters come and go and the entertainment varies, but there are also some staples to the fair. The oldest of those is the strawberry shortcake event, which began more than 35 years ago, when the event started as a strawberry festival.

Other events have evolved over time. The lobster dinner on Saturday “was a ham and bean supper,” Lions Club Secretary Timothy Ray, said. “Someone had the bright idea to change it” after attendees seemed bored with the original supper.

In the spirit of evolving the event  and trying new things, the Lions will add a new kids’ paint night this year, a complement to the event’s adult paint night.

The event has traditionally kicked off with the triatholon, but this year the kids painting in the park is the first event on July 13 at 3 p.m. The 8 a.m. triathlon at Town Beach on Sunday takes the second spot among the week’s events. Also on July 14 is a Shopping at Shipyard event, offering the chance to buy from local artisans.

Ray said that other community groups, like the Mattapoisett Womans club, take advantage of the tent on Shipyard Park, paying the Lions part of their profits in exchange.

This year, the Womans Club will be hosting “A Taste of Mattapoisett” on Tuesday, July 16 from 5 to 7 p.m., offering attendees the chance to sample from various local restaurants.  

The Lions will take over the tent again on the 17 to host a strawberry-shortcake filled event concert as a nod to the fair’s start. The music and food will last from 7 to 9 p.m. Adults will have their chance to paint at a July 18 paint night, held at 6:30 p.m.

The Lions Club will also team up with Oxford Creamery on Friday night from 5:30 to 7 p.m. the Lions to host a fish fry at Shipyard Park.

Saturday and Sunday mark the kickoff of the official Harbor Days event, featuring a variety of goods under the big tent at Shipyard Park, and more food. Vendors and goods will appear both in-person and in the form of a silent auction.

From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday the tent will be filled with crafters, vendors and entertainment. The silent auction will also take place Saturday, with winners will be drawn at 4 p.m. After the conclusion of the auction, a lobster dinner will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Ray also said that Sunday’s pancake breakfast (from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.) is popular “we usually get a great turnout, people like to come and sit by the water and eat pancakes. The event wraps up Sunday afternoon with raffle draw at 4 p.m.

Ray said the Lions like to “take advantage of the fact that there are people in town that week.” But they don’t necessarily always get the credit. “There are still people in town who don’t know that it’s a Lions Club event, but know of it,” he added. 

Because the Lions administrative costs are entirely paid by dues, “any money raised from the public goes back to the public,” the group’s secretary said. 

The exact causes are decided by an administrative board and vary slightly from year to year.

In the past, the Lions have supported a variety of local causes, including the fire department, historical society, the Council on Aging, two $2,500 scholarships and occasionally a specific person, such as a child with an illness.

At the national level, the club contributes to the National Lions Eye Research fund and a diabetes-related fund. They may also gift the money to other Lions groups for disaster relief, or contribute to international service missions