by Kate Robinson, Dartmouth Week
Nearly 500 people came out for the Lloyd Center for the Environment’s 34th annual Clambake fundraiser on July 12, which started in the pouring rain and ended with a spectacular sunset rainbow on the beach.
Guests ate clams and lobster and bid on more than 100 items at a silent auction while puddles formed around them under a large white tent at Demarest Lloyd State Park.
But the rain didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits — in fact, everyone seemed happy with the cooler weather. “The rain is pretty exciting,” said Carol Ferguson from South Dartmouth. “I like the indoor river, that’s a new and different feature.” Ferguson has been to the Clambake two or three times now to support the Lloyd Center.
“The two-year-old wanted to be in [the puddles],” she laughed. “But I see the sun coming out, so we’ll have a little bit of everything.”
“I’m so glad it rained, because it made it less humid,” said Jewelle Bickford from New York, who used to have a house on Mishaum Point and now summers in Nonquitt. She was bidding on gift certificates to several Dartmouth restaurants, including Chumley’s and Not Your Average Joe’s. “I bid on all the restaurants. We love these restaurants,” she said.
Along with the classic jewelry, artwork, and food and wine baskets, other items up for auction included a sandcastle, a Yeti cooler, a portable hammock with its own built-in stand, and a baseball autographed by Red Sox manager and former infielder Alex Cora.
“I bid on that basket right there,” said Jake Roach, grandson of Lloyd Center founder Angelica Russell, pointing out a large wicker and fabric picnic basket.
Roach lives in Colorado but comes to visit family twice a year — and usually attends the Lloyd Center event. “The rainstorm was perfect,” he laughed. “And there’s a lot of good options here for the silent auction. It’s gorgeous.”
After the storm the setting sun, clouds, and sea — plus a large rainbow — drove everyone outside the tent for photos.
Meanwhile inside the tent, everyone lined up for a hearty seafood and lobster dinner served by McGrath Clambakes from Newport.
The Boston-based band Lucky 13 — who play their fusion of rock, blues, and pop at the fundraiser every year — started at eight.
For the first time, this year the Lloyd Center offered “Late Night” tickets at a reduced price for those who couldn’t make it to dinner. “Late Night” guests were able to enjoy the silent auction, music, drinks and dancing, as well as food from the Oxcart food truck from Mattapoisett’s Oxford Creamery.
And as for the turnout, it seemed the rain couldn’t keep anyone away. “We’re overjoyed with that,” said Lloyd Center Executive Director Rachel Stronach. “We’re happy that everybody came out to support the mission.” “I know we’ve had a little bit of rain, but it’s really helped to cool things off,” she added. “And it’s definitely not slowing down any of the fun.”
Photo: Guests pose for photos in front of the rainbow after the storm passed. Photo by: Kate Robinson, Dartmouth Week