By Ella Chabot-Remington
“There’s no business like Clam Business,” proclaims the slogan selected for this year’s Sebastian Clambake, scheduled Nov. 6 through 8 at Riverview Park. The Clambake is in the hands of Sebastian’s 2009 Woman of the Year Anjani Cirillo, who is servings as President of the Sebastian Clambake Foundation.
Organizing the November event started in February with monthly planning sessions.
Cirillo has been a Clambake volunteer since the event was established in 2002 as a “lagoon festival” celebrating the culture and traditions of life on the Indian River, the central and historic heart of the Sebastian community.”I first heard about the Clambake at a Sebastian Chamber of Commerce luncheon when it was just getting started.,” Cirillo said. “Anything that brings people together attracts me.”
The Clambake Foundation is a non-profit group presently of nine service organization members that represent a diverse cross-section of the community, including the Boys and Girls Club, Communications Workers of America Local 3180, General Federation of Women’s Clubs Sebastian River Junior Women’s Club, Kashi Ashram, Knights of Columbus, Sebastian Inlet Sail and Power Squadron, Sebastian Property Owners Association, Sebastian Soccer Association, and Sebastian River High School Athletic Boosters.
The foundation and Clambake event are also actively supported by local businesses Citrus Bank, Indian River Seafood, Royal Bank of Canada, the Sebastian River Chamber of Commerce, Sebastian Clam Farmers, and Sebastian River Medical Center.
Aside from meeting expenses and seed money set aside for planning the following year’s event, all proceeds from the Clambake go to Sebastian charities or public projects, which have included soccer fields and improved lighting in Riverview Park.
The Foundation’s by-laws stipulate that the money stays within Sebastian, and over $200,000 in proceeds raised by the five previous clambakes has been channeled into the community, according to Cirillo.
On July 7 the Clambake membership organizations met to select the following beneficiaries of the 2009 event: VFW Post 10210, Sebastian Sharks Youth Football and Cheerleading Association, Boys and Girls Club of Indian River County, By the River Affordable Senior Housing Facility, Professional Animal World’s HALO Rescue, and the Sebastian Soccer Association.
“I love the idea of bringing in money and being able to spread the benefit throughout the community,” said Cirillo.
The Clambake is now held in November to avoid the threat of hurricanes, which caused the cancellation of the event in 2004. Cirillo estimates turn out will run between 35,000 and 60,000 people and notes the biggest challenge this year is the economy.
Admission to the Clambake is free and there will be live bands playing and plenty to eat. Ticket booths will sell $1 tickets that can be applied to food, beer, and t-shirts. The event runs from 2 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Clambake visitors do not have to like clams to enjoy the event. In addition to steamed and fried clams, clam chowder, and linguini with red clam sauce, the Clambake will feature peel and eat tiger shrimp, sausage and pepper sandwiches, fried fish, French fries, popcorn, beer, soda and water.
There are numerous events planned within the event such as a kayak poker run, a wacky raft race, a chowder cook off, volleyball tournaments, entertainment by local children’s groups, and a boat show.
For children, there will be pony rides, a bounce ride, face painting and other activities.
“I encourage people to come, and pray for great weather,” Cirillo said. “The money spent goes toward good organizations. Volunteers from the community comprise the entire labor force, and we always need volunteers. We are especially looking for help with directing parking.”
Business partners, vendors, and assistance with advertising are also needed. For more information on the Clambake, visit www.SebastianClambake.org or e-mail Cirillo at email@example.com.