• Shanna Kelly

Women’s Civic Club to host Fourth of July Food Fest

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

Shanna Kelly | Seven Mile Satellite


Originally published 3 July 2019

 


The Women’s Civic Club of Stone Harbor will be hosting a Fourth of July Food Fest this Thursday at 96th street and the beach. It’ll be held from 12 to 9 p.m. and is free to the public. The goal of the family-friendly event is to fundraise money for a new kitchen that they plan to start work on this coming winter. The renovations are estimated to cost around $60,000.

The Women’s Civic Club is located on 96th and the beach. Photo | Shanna Kelly

The event will be “a front row seat for the fireworks” and include food vendors. Jack’s Shack will be there with a food truck serving fish tacos, bang bang shrimp tacos, chicken tenders and kid-friendly fries. Back Bay seafood will be serving crab cake sliders, shrimp skewers, burrito wraps, their signature dip and tenders. There will also be pretzels and homemade ice cream from a local vendor.  


The event will even include raffles for a “Play Day” and “Date Night” basket, each valuing between $150 and $200. The “Play Day” basket will include gifts like movie park passes, an Americana cooler, gift cards, snacks and beach passes. The “Date Night” basket will include wine glasses, wine and more. 

Civic Club president breaks ground for the first clubhouse in 1937. Photo submitted by the Women’s Civic Club.
Civic Club president breaks ground for the first clubhouse in 1937. Submitted photo | Women’s Civic Club

Looking back, the Women’s Civic Club has a rich history on the island. It was founded in 1913 before the Borough of Stone Harbor was created and is said to be the oldest continuous women’s club in America.


“It’s an honor to be here to continue the tradition since 1913,” Elaine Cubbage, the club president, said. 


It now has around 150 members and was originally created to serve the community and has done so since. 


One way the club served the community in the ’50s was by planting more than 650 trees in two days on the island before the Garden Club was around. Additionally, During World War I and II, the club helped with getting bandages, cigarettes and socials for the soldiers. There even used to be community dances once a week.

Submitted photo | Women’s Civic Club

In 1937, the first building was built only to be taken away by a storm in 1962. The new building was built in 1963 and is still used today. Cubbage said she can still feel all the women since 1913.


“It’s a little tight in here,” Isabella Kelly-Prince, recording secretary, added.


Other than dues, the club receives income from renting their space for weddings and parties. The building is “kind of a plain space,” which allows people to decorate it as they please. 


They also donate their club to other community groups such as the Borough of Stone Harbor, the Chamber of Stone Harbor, the Lions Club and more.


“We use the building to serve the community,” Lori Knickerbocker, vice president of rentals and publicity, said.


Aside from meetings, the club donates to charities, hosts card parties, has guest speakers and offers events such as luncheons, a winery trip, a Toys for Tots breakfast and more.


The club also goes on a yearly trip, which while it doesn’t bring in a lot of money and is more of a way for the women and their husbands or significant others to spend time together, does help a little bit with their fundraising. 


This fall, they’ll be going to Montreal and Quebec, Canada, for a week. To choose the trip, director of fundraising and special events, Cindy O’Connor, browsed through 150 options in a big book. She then presented the ones that stood out to the group.


“[I pick] the one that most people jump out of their chairs and say, ‘Yes! I’ve always wanted to go there,’” O’Connor said.


The trip will be guided by a tour company and will visit places like the cathedral and the underground shopping center in Montreal. And in Quebec, they’ll be staying in one of the castle-like hotels that were built across Canada.

The Women’s Civic Club today. Photo | Shanna Kelly

“It’s like going to France without the airfare,” O’Connor said.


Looking forward, the club is always open to new members, and with no direct age requirement, is ready to welcome any interested women. All they need to do is send an email.


“We need to hand the baton on to the next generation,” Cubbage said.


After 106 years filled with aiding soldiers, planting trees, being a space for weddings and more, the Women’s Civic Club of Stone Harbor has continually met their overall goal: serving the community.


“All the spirits are around us now, they’re clapping,” Kelly-Prince said.


Shanna Kelly is a writer and editor for the Seven Mile Satellite. Contact her at sevenmilesatellite@gmail.com.