Greenport's Maritime Festival--coming September 25-27--is an annual don't miss filled with so many special events and opportunities it's easy to overlook any particular one. That said, the Merry Merfolk are a really fun, new feature. This North Fork Insider takes a look, by chatting with Caroline Waloski of Sirens' Song Gallery, the primary organizer of Merry Merfolk, Rosa Ross of Scrimshaw Restaurant, who will host the awards luncheon, and Linda Johnson of Chocology, who will be making Merry Merfolk souvenir chocolates. Q: What is Merry Merfolk?
CW: The Merry Merfolk is an event within the Maritime Festival parade. Merfolk began as "Little Merfolk in 2013. It was so successful as a children's event that adults wanted to join in the fun. Now it is for children of all ages, 1-100.
Come as your favorite maritime or sea creature. Plenty of room for Mermaids, Octopi, Clams, Sharks, Whales, Neptunes, Pirates, Sailors. All creatures are welcome, benign or ferocious. Get creative with your costume.
The Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead will also be supporting and joining us in our parade with their Shark Truck.
Q: Sounds like great costume fun, and joining in the main parade is always a treat. But when the parade is done, is the event over?
CW: No. An awards lunch will be held following the parade at Scrimshaw restaurant with owner & chef, Rosa Ross preparing a buffet from local produce from land and sea. In addition, we will have Merry Merfolk mugs and wine glasses featuring the Mermaid and Neptune of the event logo surrounded by protective, nurturing, eel grass.
During the Maritime Festival--not just the Merry Merfolk--there will be a bijoux box of select chocolates available with romantic, exotic, and local flavors. The bon bon "Lavender Fields" has flavors from our own North Fork combining honey and lavender. Other flavors like "Cleopatra", "Heart of the Aegean", "Tahiti Escape" conjure up far flung sea going adventures that originated out of our harbors. You can bet that the flavors incorporate sea salt.
Q: This is event and the chocolates and such are all part of a benefit, right?
CW: Yes, the beneficiary is Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County Marine Program. Cornell is a natural fit for the event because of their "Back to the Bays" programming which supports our local marine environment. They are not only supportive with the planting of the eel grass in the Peconic Bay and Long Island Sound and preserving the meadows, but celebrate the return to the health and clean waters through education. CCE also supports the aquaculture of our waters and the return of the shell fish farming industry.
Q: So the awards luncheon is at Scrimshaw--what should participants expect?
RR: Scrimshaw is a beautiful restaurant right on the water. Our outdoor seating is very special, as our seating is right on the water and open.
It’s a perfect place for an evening meal or cocktail on the water. I imagine the awards will be handed out there, on our dock, though we'll serve the buffet inside.
Q: What deliciousness will you serve as part of the buffet?
RR: Well, we haven't finalized the menu. But for 11 years of business, Scrimshaw has always been a modern American restaurant with a unique, eclectic twist.
I’m Asian, so many of dishes have Asian influences. One of our signature dishes is our bouilliabase. Not a French one, by my own custom one—involving Curry spices and coconut milk.
My chowder is quite unique—it’s a seafood chowder, it’s got butter and cream, but not thickened. It’s quite light and special.
Q: The Maritime Festival is a weekend-long affair. Will Scrimshaw be doing anything special besides the Merry Merfolk event?
RR: Yes. First, we'll greet people at the street with special booth with our famous dumplings, meat skewers and box lunches. Scrimshaw, since it's down on the water, is set some 30 feet back from the street, and the street side booth invites people in or lets them enjoy our food without stopping by. Most people stop by, though, for the custom cocktail.
Q: Custom cocktail?
RR: Yes, every year we design a cocktail which we sell—last year we had blue ‘lemonade’ in a mason jar that people could keep. Everyone loved that. This year we're offering watermelon cucumber mojitos, again in souvenir mason jars.
Q: I'll bet whatever you finalize will be yummy. Speaking of yummy, Chocology will be making Merry Merfolk souvenir chocolates, right? What's special about Chocology chocolate?
LJ: Yes, we will have a special souvenir Merry Merfolk chocolate. But all our chocolates are special:
At Chocology, we are interested in all aspects of chocolate. We are committed to and love the study of chocolate – extending that love and knowledge to clients in new and exciting ways and giving back. We work hard in order to offer our clients a fresh new way to experience chocolate.
Why are our chocolates so yummy? Each chocolate, a miniature work of art, they are packed to order and never warehoused. Our handcrafted superior chocolates and Fat Ass Fudge not only taste exquisite, but that look exceptional, as well! The result is a chocolate indulgence for all the senses.
Our customers deserve the best and we make chocolate personal.
Q: Fat Ass Fudge?
LJ: Indeed. And for a good cause; we donate a portion of the fudge sales through our Chocology Cares Campaign. We know that when we give we will always have everything we need. We love helping great organizations that are making a difference in the world, and are happy to be a part of this effort to support Cornell's great program.
Q: Chocolate is a very niche product. How did you get involved in it?
LJ: I'm passionate about everything I do. I’ve wanted to have a family business ever since I can remember. The moment Chocolate popped into my head, I knew it was the ideal business for our family--everyone gets excited about chocolate. Madeline (my teenage daughter) is passionate about chocolate, the smell, taste and look of it and so am I! Chocology provides us an exceptional opportunity to study chocolate and bring our customers along with us for the ride. The future of Chocology encompasses endless possibilities….our dream come true.
Q: So how does someone interested in parading in their creative costume, competing for awards by the sea while sipping a custom cocktail and sampling delicious, souvenir chocolates get involved?
CW: Registration is required: http://merrymerfolkparade2015.eventbrite.com
Get in the swim and join the fun. Register today.