Great turnout out for 'Great Community Picnic'
They showed up with picnic baskets, wearing playful large hats, dressed in costume, simply dressed for a leisurely summer evening by the sea to have a good time, dine, and to raise some money for two local organizations.
Nearly 400 people turned out Thursday evening, Aug. 2, for the "Great Community Picnic" a giant fundraising picnic put on jointly by Mattapoisett Land Trust and Mattapoisett Historical Society on the beachfront at the land trust's Munro Preserve, located next to the Town Wharf on Mattapoisett Harbor.
For three hours people could be heard laughing, clinking wine glasses, telling stories about what's happened since they last saw each other, slurping fresh oysters from Mattapoisett's Copper Beach Farms, and listening to live music.
For some, it's a much anticipated reunion. Nicki Demaskis lives most of the year in San Diego but she was raised in Mattapoisett. She comes back every summer to visit family and friends.
For the past three years, Demaskis and her friends have been using the Great Community Picnic as a reunion. Each year the women pick a theme for their table. Last year it was Hawaiian luau. This year, they went north -- far north -- and chose a Christmas theme. All decked out in red elfin attire, the group was quite peppy about their assumed personas.
"Did you know there are just 145 days left till Christmas?" Mattapoisett Police Chief Mary Lyons leaned over and whispered to a visitor at her table while noshing on French meat pie and Christmas cookies.
"We're all about spirit," Lisa Thibeault added. "We're all Santa's Helpers."
"You bet we are," Demaskis chimed in. "We came with duct tape and scissors, so if anyone needs any help, we're here."
For the organizations sponsoring the event, the picnic was a success on several levels.
"This is the third year we've partnered with the Mattapoisett Historical Society to have fun and raise some money," Mike Huguenin, president of the Mattapoisett Land Trust, said as he walked around making sure all hospitality stations were running smoothly. "It's been a great collaboration."
Ticket booth volunteers said the two organizations sold 47 tables, seating at least 390 people.
"I think we raised $3,000 to $4,000 for each organization, for a total of between $7,000 and $8,000," a pleased looking Huguenin said half way through the event.
The land trust president said the group used its portion of last year's picnic proceeds to help purchase the old Hammond Quarry, a 53-acre property on Mattapoisett Neck. He said this year's proceeds will pay for maintenance of land trust properties and to build on the land preservation organization's savings.