Aquinnah considers allowing June clambake


Updated Feb. 10

A request to use an area of Lobsterville Beach for a clambake in June hosted by KG Events & Design LLC is being considered by Aquinnah selectmen, who wonder what COVID restrictions will be like at that point.

The request to use the beach for a private clambake on June 17 includes an anticipated group size of 50 to 100 people, but board of selectmen chair Jim Newman said, “That’s an awful lot of people.”

All guests attending the clambake would be staying at the Beach Plum Inn in Menemsha.

Town administrator Jeff Madison noted that the party, which may include catering by Bill Smith’s Martha’s Vineyard ClamBake, would mean vehicles and party attendees coming over to the Island via the Steamship Authority.

But the request letter states that “little to no guests will be driving.”

Dan Tomczyk, of Bill’s MV ClamBake, said he and his company have been following all the health protocols and COVID safety guidelines laid out by Baker, and don’t cater any events without express approval from the boards of health.

“We do everything we can to provide a fun, safe clambake for everyone,” Tomczyk said.

Newman suggested accepting the recommendation, contingent upon where the pandemic is in June, and what Gov. Charlie Baker’s orders are at that time.

Aquinnah officials agreed that more information would need to be gathered about the clambake, such as the hours, and how many vehicles would be brought over.

Aquinnah Police Chief Randhi Belain said he is also concerned about the use of the public parking area by Lobsterville, and reiterated the concern of the parking lot filling up when COVID restrictions are still tight. 

Madison said there is a potential liability with such a large gathering, and suggested discussions with the host about them obtaining a liability policy.

He asked whether selectmen would want to charge for the use of the beach because the clambakers aren’t Aquinnah residents.

“We don’t have a policy for use of our beaches, and I think you have to give a long thought to letting people use our beaches who aren’t from our community,” Madison said. “We haven’t done this type of activity before, so it’s not something we want to do without taking adequate protections for ourselves.”

Additionally, he suggested requiring a “substantial deposit” for any trash left on the beach after the party.

Updated to include information from event request letter and comment from Dan Tomczyk of Bill Smith’s MV ClamBake.— ed.