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A Whale of a Party

Julie and Steve Hatfield
Julie and Steve Hatfield

On Saturday evening, the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum threw what it called “A Whale of a Party” to benefit the ongoing restoration of its building, an idiosyncratic white 1845 former summer house with a temple-fronted portico and ornate Corinthian columns that broods over the village’s Main Street.

About two hundred guests—locals and not-so-locals—turned out for food, drink, and catching up with neighbors to a backdrop of music spun by DJ Carlos Lama.

Just inside the building—which is in greatly improved condition over the past few years thanks to two local businesses and a partnership with a local crowd-funding platform GoodCircle the mission of the museum is etched into the walls of the building: “It was built to remember the richness of our cultural and good fortune from a lucrative whaling era that endured until the economic rebirth of the village with the advent in 1881 of the Fahys Watchcase factory.”

Individual contributions have been essential to the ongoing progress of the restoration of the museum but it is to businesses, according to the article in the Sag Harbor Express, Sag Harbor-based Tom O’Donoghue Associates and Cape Resorts, the resort management side of Cape Advisors—that have contributed more than half of the money raised.

The Whale of the Party drew young and old alike with tickets for children costing $25 and $75 for adults. In addition to the homemade coffee ice cream and iced coffee, and the donation of Rolling in Dough’s traveling brick-fired pizza oven, there were gratis drinks served by Greg Therriault, the museum’s manager and goody bags distributed by Annette Hinkle, a member of the board. 

The museum was open and a show of work, “Salt Air Exhibition II,” curated by Dan Rizzie and Peter Marcelle in homage to the whale and its history in Sag Harbor was on view as well as the historical collection of scrimshaw, whaling tools and model ships constructed over long journey’s at sea.

Artists whose work was included “Salt Air Exhibition II” included Jameson Ellis and Jill Musnicki, Eric Fischl and April Gornik and Donald Sultan.

Tom O’Donoghue Associates, a firm that handles new construction and historic renovations on the South Fork, has pledged $15,000 toward the project, and Cape Resorts, which is redeveloping the former Baron’s Cove Inn, has contributed an additional $5,000 towards the completion of the restoration of the front porch.

All proceeds from the events go directly toward the three-phase restoration of the Benjamin Huntting House, which began last year with repairs to the building’s exterior, including the restoration of finials on the roof and gutter repairs, as well as a full repainting of its exterior—a project estimated to cost at least $260,000.

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