'Harbor Days' called a success despite being cut short

Jul 24, 2018

Breezy sunny skies brought hundreds of people to Shipyard Park on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the 36th Annual Mattapoisett Lions Club's "Harbor Days" fundraising harbor-front celebration.

Folks dined, shopped, sold, and entertained the weekend away in a celebratory mood during an event that has brought friends and family from far and near together for more than three and half decades. People enjoyed each other's company through food events, athletic competition, concerts in the Gazebo, games, and live entertainment.

Organizers for Harbor Days say the week-long event was a rousting success, despite being cut short by one day due to stormy weather.

"It actually kicks off the weekend before the vendor weekend with the Triathalon, which was July 15, and 'Shopping in Shipyard' and that was from 2 to 6," Amy Mello, Mattapoisett Lions President 2018, said of the celebration. "But, except for Sunday, and some winds that kinda kicked up on Saturday night, we did have overall fantastic weather for the Harbors Days week."

The favorable weather for most of the week was welcomed by both vendors and the Mattapoisett Lions, and had a positive outcome on turnout.

"We had more people for vendors for "Shopping in Shipyard" on that Sunday, July 15," Mello said. "We sold more strawberry shortcakes than we did the year before on Wednesday evening for the concert in the park and we sold kettle cor,n again."

"We had more people for "Painting with a Splash" than we had in past years," she said. "We had 102 people that Thursday evening, July 19, and it was a lovely evening, too.

"Oxford Creamery did our fish fry on Friday night (July 20). We sold 313 fish fry dinners," Mello said. "So that's fantastic."

"I haven't confirmed it, but it's possible that we sold almost all of our lobster and chowder dinners" (on Saturday night, July 22), Mello said. "I think we had like six left (out of 300)."

The Saturday before the last day of Harbor Days was the best day for most people.

"We had a really good turn out and the winds did kick up from those storms we were suppose to get. We were trying to keep things down and secure them with rocks or whatever we could, but it didn't stop anything we had going on."

By late Saturday afternoon, the forecast for the next day did not look good. Organizers had to make a decision regarding the vendors, all of who pay for their booths and depend on sales to cover costs and make profits themselves.

"We told them we wouldn't penalize them if they choose after our regular close for vendors on Saturday at 6 o'clock, to pack up and take their tent and their items out of the park, they could," Mello said.

Organizers still held out hope that Sunday would not be a wash.

"We still intended, when we closed Saturday, to run a full Harbor Days on Sunday, because we all know how New England weather is, she said. "The forecast is always changing on us. "

Mello said most vendors opted to pull stakes Saturday night. Only two came back Sunday morning, but only one stayed.

In advance of the rains and under the big white tent, Mello and a crew were there early Sunday morning to make sure the Lions Pancake Breakfast still happened.

"I spoke to a Marion resident Sunday and they said they got no rain, but we had torrential downpours. But we still had people turn out," Mello said. "We had the Pancake Breakfast from 8 to 11. The Boy Scout Troop showed up. We had a full compliment of volunteers there.

"The weather did clear up Sunday, but the vendors didn't come back so there was nobody. So we did call it after the pancake breakfast. And everything cleared up but even if we were cooking, who would we be cooking for?"