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INTERVIEW: East Hampton Town Trustee Ben Dollinger On The 30th Annual Largest Clam Contest

T.J. Clemente

The 30th Annual Largest Clam Contest will be held virtually. (Courtesy Photo)

East Hampton Town Trustee Ben Dollinger was excited to speak about the East Hampton Town Trustees' 30th Annual Largest Clam Contest that is being held virtually this year, but with actual clamming. Trustee Dollinger relayed, "I am proud to be heading the committee to get this done, along with Trustee Susan McGraw-Keber and Trustee Jim Grimes. Their knowledge and input was very helpful in putting this first-time virtual event together. The Largest Clam Contest has been a fun, great tradition for the Town that is a lot of fun for the kids and it's all about our pastime of enjoying local resources. At first, we [the East Hampton Town Trustees] were thinking of canceling the whole thing due to COVID-19, but in the end, we came up with this idea to save the Largest Clam Contest. Unfortunately, we will not be having the annual clambake, but instead have the digging for the largest clam done from Saturday, September 12 through Saturday, September 19. This is all going to be done in a way that is responsible and done in a way that is COVID friendly."

So, how does one enter either their children or themselves in the new virtual Largest Clam Contest? Dollinger replied, "First you have to sign up and get a mesh bag provided at the Amagansett Seafood Market in Amagansett, Gosman's Fish Market in Montauk, The Seafood Shop in Wainscott, Stuart's Fish Market in Amagansett."

Dollinger stressed, "To be eligible to clam in the contest and be eligible for the many great donated prizes, all the kids, in fact, everyone must have a valid East Hampton Town Shellfish License and all clams entered must be caught in certified waters in East Hampton Town." Licenses are extremely inexpensive and information on the process of obtaining one is on the Town's website or you can call 631-267-8688 to learn more. Entries can be harvested from Three Mile Harbor, Accabonac Harbor, Napeague Harbor, and Lake Montauk.

He also noted, "Parents may enter clams for children between the ages of 4 and up to 14 by writing their name and age, in addition to their own on each entry card and can be submitted in the mesh bags at the Amagansett Seafood Market, Gosman's Fish Market, The Seafood Shop before the end of store hours on Saturday, September 19. The clams will be judged on Sunday, September 20 and will be showcased during a program that will air on LTV at a later date." The Trustees also ask contest participants submit a short video of themselves and their entry at the spot where they unearthed the clam.

Dollinger also noted, "Only Hard Clams ['Mercenaria, mercenaria'] are eligible and the contestants must comply with all shell fishing regulations, plus a maximum of one clam per contestant, per day may be entered. It's vitally important that all entries are to be placed in a mesh bag provided at the above places, the drawstring of the bag pulled tight, and the card providing your name, the date and harbor of capture, stapled over the bag and remember to write the age of the child, if entered for the junior category."

Dollinger said the prizes consist "of a lot of lobster dinners and toys for the kids."

For more information, call 631-267-8688 or visit ehtrustees.com.




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