Oyster roast brings community full circle

Published 11:01 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Last year’s Crittenden, Eclipse and Hobson oyster roast drew dozens to the community to feast on local seafood and raise money for good causes.

For generations, the communities of Crittenden, Eclipse and Hobson have been known for the oysters harvested from their surrounding waterways.

To celebrate the area’s history, enjoy the recent harvest and invest in the community’s future, the Crittenden, Eclipse and Hobson Ruritan Club will host its seventh annual oyster roast on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the community hall, 8881 Eclipse Drive.

“It’s neat that everything about this event is community oriented,” said Ben Johnson, Ruritan member. “From the industry to the organization putting on the event to those who participate in the event and those who benefit from funds raised — it’s all directly tied back into the community. It goes full circle.”

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Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door and can be purchased at Rio Grande Traders in Driver and The Market in Eclipse.

The ticket will ensure all-you-can-eat roasted and raw oysters, oyster fritters and clam chowder. For live entertainment, the Don Hamlett Band will be on site.

Organizers are hoping to sell 450 tickets to the roast and promise guests nothing but the community’s finest oysters and roasting.

Robert and Ben Johnson, father-and-son partners of Johnson and Sons Seafood, which has operated in Eclipse for the past 35 years, harvest the oysters right before the event.

“We bring in between 40 and 50 bushels of oysters that we roast the day of the event,” Johnson said.

The preparation of the food begins the night before, when a group of 15 members organize to cut the 10,000 potatoes and add in the clams, vegetables and other ingredients to begin the six-hour process of making the clam chowder, according to Butch Simonetti, assistant chairman of the event.

Members kindle the fire around 9 a.m. the morning of the event.

Money raised at the event is used for scholarships and to help community families in need.

According to Butch Simonetti, three students received scholarships last year. They club also helped five families last Christmas with food and cash for rent, bills, clothing or holiday expenses.

For more information or to purchase a ticket, call Simonetti at 377-4520.