Despite rain, Shelter Island FD served up 1,700 chicken dinners

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Erecting a tarp over the barbecue grills enabled Shelter Island firefighters to cook Saturday despite foul weather.

If you asked workers struggling to get a tarp over the grill Saturday morning if the Shelter Island Fire Department would ever host another chicken barbecue, the answer might have been ‘no.’ But two days after this year’s rainy yet successful event, the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’

Shelter Island Fire Chief John D’Amato said the department plans to celebrate its 50th chicken barbecue next year.

“We’re going to get through 50 and we’re going to have a spectacular 50,” said Shelter Island Fire Chief John D’Amato.

“I think the chicken barbecue will be here as long as we’re here,” the chief said. “I suspect it will go on forever. It’s part of the fabric of the community.”

Weather notwithstanding, firefighters and members of the auxiliary served up an estimated 1,700 dinners Saturday, Chief D’Amato said. Money hasn’t yet been tallied, but the barbecue generally brings in about $20,000 — most of which goes to pay for student scholarships and contributions to various other Shelter Island organizations. A small amount stays within the department to pay for equipment not covered in the department’s annual budget, the chief said.

Read more about the barbecue and view more photos in Thursday’s paper.