The June 3, 2023 Rotary Club of Essex Shad Bake was a rousing success! Thanks to the many hard-working volunteers, sponsors, donors, and to the people who showed up to enjoy the return of this wonderful New England tradition.
Photos by Nate Salter
The Rotary Club of Essex Shad Bake, one of Yankee Magazine’s “Top 20 Summer Events,” returned for the first in-person event since the COVID pandemic. This important culinary tradition was started in 1958 and is a classic Spring ritual of the Connecticut Shoreline.
Retaining its classic charm and New England community energy, the Shad Bake had a new venue, the Essex Island Marina Safe Harbor grounds, which is a complimentary short ferry hop across the marina channel.
Once the basis of a sizable fishery on the Connecticut River, American Shad are a flavorful fish known for their taste and the difficulty in preparing them for the table (due to thousands of tiny bones). Expertly deboned and nailed up on oak planks around a smoldering bonfire, the shad took on a smokey flavor and was accompanied by many sides and pie from Lyman Orchards. Hot dogs and barbecue chicken were available as well.
New England clam and oyster appetizers were served at 1:00 p.m. (at an additional cost). A cash bar offered several different varieties of beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages.
The live music of Paddy Whack delighted guests as they played traditional Irish and American fiddle tunes throughout the afternoon.
This event provides funds to support the Rotary Club of Essex programs and charities, such as scholarships to local students, Essex libraries, Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries, and many other local charities.
The Rotary Club of Essex would like to thank our 2023 sponsors and volunteers, without whom this event would not be possible:
$5000 Captains Level Sponsors
$2500 Fisherman Level Sponsors