September 17, 2019

Essex Rotary Club Announces 53rd Annual Shad Bake and Family Day

From the Essex Rotary Club (left to right): Bake Master Joseph Shea, President John Mulligan; Diana Harbison, Director, attended the festivities at the Essex Steam Train Station Opening Day on May 7. The Rotary Club is currently planning the 53rd Annual Shad Bake which will take place on June 4 in Essex.

The Essex Rotary Club today announced that the 53rd Annual Shad Bake and Family Day will take place on June 4 at the Essex Elementary School located at 108 Main Street in Centerbrook, Connecticut.

The Shad Bake and Family Day is an authentic New England tradition and unique experience that has established a reputation as one of the most anticipated events in the Connecticut shoreline.

“Every year, people gather together for a fun and festive family event,” said Rotary Club President John Mulligan. “People are fascinated about the process and different steps of preparing for this spectacular event.”

“We ask people to arrive early for a wonderful evening of live jazz music with friends and family, and we encourage the families to bring their own picnic blankets, games, and favorite beverages to enjoy with their shad meal,” said Rotary Club Director, Diana Harbison.

“For half a century the Essex Rotary Club has cooked shad the old fashioned way: wood strips into a teepee, a bed of sand on the ground, a blazing fire, and plenty of fresh shad,” said Bake Master, Joseph Shea.

Added Shea: “We invite people to join us and celebrate the start of summer with this great Connecticut tradition. We will also be selling oysters and clams as well as water and soft drinks and encourage people to buy their tickets in advance by going online or calling the Essex Rotary Club. We have only 700 tickets available and we anticipate a sell out.”

The Annual Shad Bake is not only a family event but also one of the major fundraisers organized by the Essex Rotary Club. Essex Rotarians are dedicated to raising funds for their community. All proceeds from the event will go to the Essex Rotary Foundation which supports the Club’s various charitable endeavors including scholarships for area students, as well as a variety of local, national and international assistance projects.

The Shad Bake will start at 4:30 p.m. and doors will close at 7:00 p.m. There will be live music and entertainment from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., free inflatable games, face painting and the popular fire truck slide.

Families that wish to eat on the lawn are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket, and portable chairs. Tables and chairs will be provided for indoor dining. For the kids who do not like fish, there will also the option of BBQ Chicken, and fresh grilled hot dogs.

The cost per person is $20 and $80 for the entire family. Tickets are available for purchase online at or by calling (860) 767-9158.