Doug Massalon loves oysters and good beer, and sometimes he can't fall right to sleep.
So late one night several years ago, he stayed up trying to figure out a new computer program for making invitations. He decided to invite folks to come over the following weekend with a six pack of "something new to you," and he'd roast oysters.
Excited with what he made -- despite limited computer skills -- Massalon printed a batch and handed them out. When he ran out, he made more. He didn't know how many he handed out, or who was coming.
"I expected maybe five, six couples would show up for an oyster roast, so I didn't really plan it at all," he said.
About 160 people and a band arrived.
"It turned out to be one of the best things we ever threw," Massalon said.
A few months later, Massalon was at St. Peter's Catholic School, where he had three children enrolled, and saw the coach dragging a basketball hoop across the parking lot because the school had no court.
"I realized, 'Why couldn't I do what I did for fun as a fundraiser?'" he said. "So eight years later, here's where we are."
Saturday marks the Eighth Annual Oyster Roast and Microbrew Festival to benefit the school, providing extras not in the annual budget, such as a new basketball court, mobile computer labs, and micro-grants for projects by teachers and students.
This year, in light of the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the money will go to upgrade the school's security system.
The festival starts at 1 p.m. in The Live Oaks Park in Port Royal and is preceded by a 5K run/walk and one-mile fun run at 11 a.m., both of which are inaugural events.
The first year, the school's Oyster Roast Committee raised $17,500, and 450 adults and 150 kids attended. The next year, it made $58,000, and 1,500 adults and 400 kids attended, Massalon said.
It's expecting 1,800 to 2,400 at Saturday's event.
"We're just a group of fathers who want to give back to the school, and that's how it all started and that's the way it's going to continue," he said. "And we have fun doing it."
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.
St. Peter's Annual Oyster Road and Microbrew Festival
Ready to roast, March 4, 2011
St. Peter oyster roast offers bushels of fun - and good food, March 5, 2011 http://www.islandpacket.com/2011/03/05/1572006_st-peter-oyster-roast-off...
Keywords: Beaufort, Port Royal, St. Peter's Catholic Church, St. Peter's Catholic School, St. Peter's, oysters, beer, microbrew, festival, invitation, school, fundraiser, Doug Massalon, children, students, fun, The Live Oaks Park, security, basketball, grants, computers