The weather gods were on the side of the Sippican Lands Trust on Saturday, September 7, as blue skies prevailed just in time for the start of their Beer and Oyster Fest fundraiser at Silvershell Beach in Marion. There was significant weather monitoring the week leading up to the event as Hurricane Dorian made its way up the eastern coast, but nervous anticipation gave way to sighs of relief from event coordinators.
Planning for this year’s fundraiser took the SLT in a slightly different direction from its 2013 Beach Bash. This time around, the focus was fun and food, specifically in the way of beer and oysters. SLT Board President Alan Harris shared that, as a non-profit organization supported by its members, this type of event leans toward celebrating those members and utilizing both local resources, as well as local open space.
“It was great to get the support of the community for the Sippican Lands Trust,” said Harris. “We are trying to get people outside and connected with our lands and, apparently, one way to get connected is through your taste buds. Many of the oysters came from an oyster farm less than a half-mile from the event. This was a great way to celebrate Marion’s environment.”
Dorian aside, the fundraiser faced another challenge a few weeks prior as the event was originally scheduled from 5:00 – 9:00 pm. Due to Eastern Equine Encephalitis concerns, however, the SLT found it necessary to change the time slot to 2:00 – 6:00 pm.
The afternoon hours proved positive, as there were over 200 in attendance for the fundraiser, which featured local craft beer, local oysters, food from the Oxford Creamery “Oxcart”, music by the Dave Mitton Project, a cash bar, auction and raffle items, and games and activities for all ages.
SLT Executive Director Jim Bride shared his excitement with the turnout. “I was delighted to see so many people attending the first-ever Sippican Lands Trust Beer and Oyster Fest in support of local land conservation in Marion,” said Bride.
Funds from the event will help support the SLT’s general expenses.
The SLT, in its 45th year, protects and maintains Marion’s natural areas while working toward acquiring additional spaces. Currently, the SLT is constructing a 1,800-foot long all-accessible trail at its Osprey Marsh property on Point Road.
“We have many benefits from open space, like mental health from walking, improved air and water quality, and quality of life,” said Harris. Building on that philosophy, the SLT boardwalk will be the first of its kind in the region, a trail for all to enjoy, as it will allow access for those with mobility constraints.
As the SLT looks ahead to future fundraisers, it appears the first Beer and Oyster Fest may not be the last.
“It was a great celebration of the SLT on a beautiful, late summer Saturday afternoon,” said Bride. He also acknowledged the many involved with organizing the fundraiser, thanking all for their support.
By Shawn Sweet