Four men huddled around a metal tub full of ice shucking clams on Sunday, just like they’ve done together for 15 years as part of the annual Blue Claw Crab Festival in Mastic Beach.
“For us, it’s like a sewing circle, except for clamming,” said Rich Stavdal, of Yaphank, who was already working with his three fellow volunteers for hours by 1 p.m.
“I’ve been here since the beginning, and I’ll be here till the end, said another shucker, Victor Viola, of Mastic Beach. Last year, they shucked 11 bushels and on average finish eight over the years. Viola said he like the community feel to the event, noting that it was free to attend (except for the food), ” and people enjoy the entertainment and getting to know their neighbors.
This year, that included hundreds of neighbors to the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association-sponsored event at the group’s Marina 1 on Riviera Drive, which was lined with vendors from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In addition to clams, there were steamed shrimp, corn, crab cakes, beer, wine and soda, plus a variety of additional food vendors. There were also children’s activities like face painting and sand art.
Here’s a peek at the day’s festivities: