Oysters were tops on the menu at annual Rotary Club roast

January 11, 1998|By Sylvia Badger

THE COW PALACE AT Timonium State Fair Grounds was filled with oyster lovers from all over Maryland for the 78th annual Oyster Roast, sponsored by the Baltimore Rotary Club. According to my Rotarian contact, Terri Smith at FoodStaff, the event drew a record-breaking crowd of 3,173 people.

While bivalves were the star attraction, Truffles Caterers also served pit beef, chicken and an assortment of side dishes.

Among the folks at the roast were the three winners of an oyster-shucking contest the club held in November. The first-place winner of that contest was Vernon Johnson, a free-lance shucker who shucked 24 oysters in 2.32 minutes. George Hastings, of Nick's Inner Harbor Seafood, and Wayne Copsey, a former national champ, placed second and third, respectively.

Money from this event and other fund-raisers help the Baltimore Rotary Club support its youth programs, including scholarships, "camperships" and aid for the handicapped. The organization's T.I.K.E. (To Immunize Kids Everywhere) campaign becomes a reality this month when a new $140,000 van hits the road, carrying health-care workers who will immunize children.

The Crystal Ball

Crystal Ball party planners moved this annual New Year's Eve bash from the Federal Hill area to the B&O Railroad Museum. The move was made because parking became a problem at the Federal Hill site as the ball grew more popular, says Meg Fielding, who works for the International Dyslexia Association and was co-chair of the ball with Randon Fritsch, BT Alex Brown.

This year's black-tie gala attracted about 850 New Year's revelers. Among those enjoying the music of Tony Berry and New Money and the Delta Devils were Vicki August, Nationwide Insurance; Michael Cusack, First National Bank; Pam Gagne, attorney; Byron Hertslet, attorney; Sara Holley, T. Rowe Price; Linda McDonald, hair salon owner; Leslie Wilson, Loyola College; Stacy Young, Loyola College; Reid LaClair and Rebecca Hansen (he's with Johns Hopkins University and she's with Roland Park Country School); Georgeann Elchynski, executive director of Paul's Place, a Southwest Baltimore outreach center; and Jack Elsby, owner of the Brass Elephant restaurant, which catered the party.

Margaret Reiley, president of the South Baltimore Homeless Shelter, and Timothy Williams, the shelter's executive director, were also at the party because it's their shelter that receives all the proceeds from each year's ball. No word yet on how much money was raised this time, but in the past six years, the ball has raised more than $130,000 for the shelter.

Children's charities

The Globe Brewing Co. on Key Highway was the scene of another New Year's Eve bash, which attracted 850 people between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. Mary Lou Williams and her son Lou D'Alesandro are the owners of this waterfront warehouse restaurant, which can accommodate up to 1,000 people.

According to Caela Johnson, owner of Bridger Communications, PR firm, everyone seemed to have a ball. Huge balloons fell from the ceiling at midnight, and guests were treated to dinner and breakfast buffets.

The entertainment was provided by Lindsay Promotions of Bethesda. Members of the Kelly Bell Band and Jah Works kept the place jumping all night. Bell's band was named the Mid-Atlantic's best blues band and he was voted the best new artist in a recent Music Monthly reader's poll. Jah Works, a reggae band, is said to be in the thick of the music revolution. It has had two independent releases during the last three years.

Among the faces in the crowd were John Angelos, a special administrative assistant for the Baltimore Orioles; Kurt McEwen, 98 Rock; J.T. Kahl, Mount Washington Tavern; and John Greely, regional sales manager for the Baltimore Orioles.

Proceeds from the evening's festivities will be donated to the Johns Hopkins Children's Charities.

Remembering Sonny Bono

When I heard about Rep. Sonny Bono's death last week, I was reminded of a party I attended in September at the Towson Center. It was a fund-raiser for Rep. Bob Ehrlich, but Bono was the star attraction.

I'll never forget how gracious he was to the hundreds of people who wanted their pictures taken with him. And how very funny he was when telling us about all the turns his life had taken. Songwriter, singer, comedian, Cher's husband, restaurant owner, mayor and congressman.

There were hundreds of Marylanders at the Towson Center that night and I can assure you Sonny Bono made an impression on all of us.

Pub Date: 1/11/98

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