Harbor Days Continues to Evolve

Harbor Days, the quintessential Mattapoisett summer tradition, is almost here and the Mattapoisett Lions Club has been planning this summer’s event since way back in September, trying to come up with fun ideas and new ways to fill Shipyard Park with food, fun, and summertime entertainment.

“We’ve got a ton of new stuff,” said Donald Bamberger, King Lion of the Mattapoisett Lions Club.

For starters, on Friday, July 18, kicking off the Harbor Days weekend is the “Friday Night Fish Fry,” a first-time Harbor Days event that Bamberger said is a shift from the traditional seafood dinner held in prior years.

“’Friday Night Fish Fry,’ it has such a nice ring to it,” said Bamberger. Enjoying a dinner of fried fish by the harbor side, said Bamberger, “How could it be any better?”

The new Hollywood Scoop on County Road in Mattapoisett will cater the event that Bamberger said could exceed 300 people. Guests can enjoy a six-ounce fillet of fish, French fries, and coleslaw from 5:30 to 7:00 pm for $9, during which time there will also be a silent auction.

After the fish fry, guests can enjoy a performance by The Dave Charnley Band, a “high energy country and blues” band from 7:00 to 10:00 pm.

Saturday the 19th brings an extra special treat that Bamberger initially did not think would pan out. But with a little perseverance, he managed to secure a visit from the Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series Championship Trophy! You can get up close and personal with the championship trophy at the Shipyard Park gazebo from 1:30 to 3:00 pm, and a two by four-foot replica of the Fenway Park scoreboard, created by local muralist M-C Lamarre, will be the backdrop for the trophy and then raffled off later in the afternoon.

“Getting the trophy was really just me shooting for the stars,” said Bamberger. He was hoping to get the trophy for longer than the hour and a half, but he said the shooting for the stars turned into settling for the moon. “We were lucky,” he said.

Back again for a second year is the Free Family Movie, which Bamberger said was a great success in 2013.

This year’s movie is On Golden Pond, but what makes this special is the “Meet the Creator” event after the film, when Oscar-winning playwright Ernest Thompson, who wrote On Golden Pond, will give a talk and meet with guests under the tent. Thompson will be bringing along with him the Oscar he won for the film.

“That was sort of a last-minute thing,” said Bamberger, who just happened to know someone who knows someone married to Thompson, explained Bamberger. The movie starts at 8:00 pm.

On Sunday the 20th at 1:30 pm, the Mattapoisett Fire Department will give a rescue demonstration, followed by a lesson on how to use a fire extinguisher.

“They are bringing in a car wreck and they’re going to use the Jaws of Life,” said Bamberger. He said firefighters will light stuff on fire and show how to properly extinguish a fire.

“And they hope to have the old fire truck that is being restored on display,” said Bamberger.

The traditional artisan craft fair will go on Saturday through Sunday, and Lobsterfest will start at 5:30 pm on Saturday evening. On Sunday from 8:00 to 11:00 am, the Lions Club will serve up a pancake and sausage breakfast.

The annual Triathlon will be held on Sunday, July 13, starting at Mattapoisett Town Beach at 8:00 am. The race includes a 0.25-mile swim, followed by 10 miles on a bicycle and then a 3.4-mile run to the finish line.

So, what has been the most challenging aspect of coordinating the 2014 Harbor Days?

“Getting volunteers,” said Bamberger. “The club, in size, is shrinking a little bit.”

Bamberger said the Lions Club receives a lot of support from the Town for Harbor Days and other events, but there is a real need for volunteers during the actual events, especially Harbor Days. “You don’t have to be a Lion to help out,” added Bamberger. The hardest part, he said, is always getting the people to help out.

“But failure is not an option,” said Bamberger. He said the lions have been meeting monthly since September planning for Harbor Days and eventually stepping it up to weekly meetings. “Then we take a breath,” said Bamberger.

What is Bamberger most excited about for this year’s Harbor days?

“I’m most excited about Monday the 21st,” laughed Bamberger.

More seriously though, Bamberger said when he first moved to Mattapoisett in 2005, he knew nothing about Harbor Days, and he enjoyed all that it had to offer. The next year, though, he saw the events dwindle a bit, so he made it his mission to continue to expand and improve upon Harbor Days when he eventually became King Lion.

“Because I think it’s the best thing in Town,” said Bamberger. “It’s good for us and it’s good for the Town.”

If you would like to volunteer for Harbor Days, contact the Lions Club at mattlionsclub@gmail.com.

By Jean Perry


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