It was a busy weekend in Rockaway, and despite more than a few events to attend, it seems everyone made a point to visit the First Annual Rockaway Oyster Festival.
On Sept. 19, the big festival tent was filled, as was the general admission area, as patrons sampled oysters and beer. Music from Irish bands like the Lost Tribe of Donegal, The Narrowbacks, and Jah Stix & The Brothers Yee entertained crowds all day.
There had been a great turnout at the launch party run by Blue Bungalow co-owners and event sponsors Liz Smith-Breslin and her partner Jeanne Jamin at the Blue Bungalow Loft on July 15. However, with Poseidon’s Parade, the Beach 97th Block Party and Oktoberfest at Bungalow Bar all happening the same day, there was some concern the crowds might be thinned out a bit. They must have enjoyed the launch party, because any anxiety was short-lived as there was a steady stream of visitors all day.
“At one point, there was a line down the block on Beach 116th,” said Keith Sullivan, a partner in the law firm Sullivan & Galleshaw and another sponsor of the event. “Seeing this many people here is a great thing for Beach 116th Street, great for the neighborhood, and great for Rockaway.”
“I use to go to Riis Park and Rockaway as a kid so it’s great to be a part of something that has room to grow,” said Terence Mulligan, the event’s organizer. “We would love to do it again. Ideally, we’d like to make a street fair and do what Battle of the Burger does on Fulton Street,” said Mulligan.
He added a portion of the proceeds was going to charity.
“A portion of the proceeds are going to the Brian Monaghan Family,” he said, referring to the beloved ex-cop turned musician who died suddenly last May. “I knew Brian from Bay Ridge. He was supposed to play the festival.”
As the event grows, Mulligan said he’s open to more local input.
“We’d love to get more local acts next year too so there are some things to work on to make it even better,” Mulligan said. “Onward and upward.”
Bungalow Bar, owned by the Tubridy family, also was a sponsor of the event.