Hospice benefit back for 21st year
By Terry Duffy
The days are fast approaching on the return of a long-time favorite on the lower Niagara River – the Jack Beatty Memorial Hospice Cruise and Clambake. Now entering its 21st year (following a three-year hiatus due to COVID), the benefit event for Niagara Hospice will take place starting at 2 p.m. Friday, July 14, on the water, and on shore at the Youngstown Yacht Club.
As in years past, this enjoyable fundraiser will pair guests with YYC members and skippers from around Buffalo-Niagara who generously donate their sailing crafts and time for a cruise on the lower Niagara. The cruise is complete with on-board snacks and beverages, and entertainment on the waters for passing boats.
It follows with a clambake and buffet social on shore at the YYC, with live music by the Soul Committee. Guests will also have opportunity to participate in an auction for some neat keepsakes, donated by businesses and community members of the River Region.
Paul Beatty Sr., who serves as chair of this event that benefits Niagara Hospice, said visitors could look forward to neat surprises this time around.
He said more than 30 boats and skippers are expected to participate. Returning for 2023 will be two Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours vessels for a sunset cruise on the river.
“It’s a champagne sunset cruise, boarding at 8 o’clock from the Yacht Club to watch the sunset go down,” Beatty said. “That’s fairly new; the people have loved it.”
Another neat surprise is skipper Michael Elia of Sevenson Environmental Services, who will bring in his 98-foot yacht from Sunset Marine in Wilson.
Yet another is a new entertainment offering on the water.
“There will be a six-piece Dixieland band that will be going down the river with us,” Beatty said. The Back Room Jazz Band from Hamburg will join the cruise this year. “They’re rated No. 1 in Buffalo.”
In addition to a clambake buffet onshore afterward at the YYC, Beatty said there will be a raffle featuring offerings from a number of eateries.
“Most of the restaurants in Lewiston are selling $25 raffle tickets,” he said. “Each basket is separate from the other; they’re a good buy. There is $200 worth of gift certificates in each basket, and chances to win four lottery tickets. Also, eight cans of craft beer; they’re 16-ouncers, probably $45 worth of beer there. And you get a discount card for Niagara Hospice. It’s a nice package for $25.”
Beatty spoke of the unique way in which the cruise and clambake unite people for such a good cause.
“Niagara Hospice has had such a positive impact on so many Niagara County residents, and this event brings the community together in a unique and enjoyable way to raise money for such an integral community organization that means so much to so many,” he said.
Beatty noted the response he’s seen so far from the community for this year’s event has been strong; adding “it could be our biggest year.”
He added, “We’re going to have our biggest group out on the water, almost 200 people out on the water. That’s big, the biggest one we ever had in 21 years.”
“This event has raised close to $700,000-$800,000 for Hospice. It’s one of the best in the area,” he said.
Beatty said tickets remain on sale for $200 per person for the sailing cruise and clambake. They also are available for just the clambake and cookout portion at the YYC, which begins at 5:30 p.m.
For ticket information, visit www.NiagaraHospice.org/cruise or contact Beatty at 716-280-0766.