Westport Shellstock — 'the best ever!'

By Jen Campisi
Posted 8/16/22

Best year ever.'

That was the verdict from Harbormaster Chris Leonard after Saturday's Shellstock festival at the Westport Fairgrounds, which drew huge numbers and likely brought in better …

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Westport Shellstock — 'the best ever!'

Posted

Best year ever.'

That was the verdict from Harbormaster Chris Leonard after Saturday's Shellstock festival at the Westport Fairgrounds, which drew huge numbers and likely brought in better receipts than any previous year.

"It was great," said Leonard, Westport's Harbormaster. "We had such a great mix of people come out and it was really busy."

Usually held on Columbus Day weekend, organizers decided to hold it in the summer this year instead, and after the great turnout, it might just stay a summertime event. 

“We’re looking forward to being able to officially move it into the summer months, and seeing that Westport has a pretty big summer population, we’re looking to tap into that,” said Skip Manchester, a Westport native on the Shellfish Advisory Board, and owner of Westport Lobster Company. Manchester’s father was one of the founders of the committee, and he stepped up to the board after the passing of his father.

“We can accommodate roughly 1,500 to 2,000 people in the fairgrounds, so we’re hopeful that this is going to be the beginning of a nice relationship here in the summer,” said Manchester.

Shellstock is now in its sixth year, despite only hosting five events (with 2020 being the only exception, due to COVID). As always, all proceeds benefit the Westport Shellfish Propagation Fund, which is used to buy quahogs for seeding in Westport's waterways.

“We take the money and we purchase seed, and other quahogs and shellfish, and transplant them into the river to be harvested by commercial fishermen, but also by the public and non-commercial fishermen,” Manchester said.

2022 by East Bay Media Group

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.