Rotary Club of Red Bank
Annual Picnic
1938-1996 58th ANNIVERSARY
As the old saying goes ~ “There has been a lot of water run over the dam” since the first get-together Bar-be-que was held by the members of the Red Bank Rotary Club at the Dam Site, where the present concrete dam is located at the reservoir of the Monmouth Consolidated Water Co. on Swimming River Road, Lincroft,, New Jersey, in August 1938. At that time, ”Jake” Herr, Manager of the Water Co. and a member of the Long Branch Rotary Club and a frequent visitor to Red Bank, offered the use of the park facilities existing at this location to the Red Bank Rotary Club for a cook out of steaks, lobsters, beer, booze, cards, etc. This would have been back in the days of the old timers: Bill Mill, Hal Stokes, Maury Schwartz, T. I. Brown, John Crowell, Bert Farrow, Shake Cornwell and others of that era who enjoyed a day out for Rotary fellowship. This party continued on an informal basis at this location until the water company expanded the reservoir and built the existing concrete dam just prior to WWII. The rising water submerged the old dam site and brought to a close the annual steak cook-out at that site.
Dan Dondi, owner of the Airport Inn, had become a member of our club and through his efforts he and his committee continued this activity using McGuires Grove in Middletown as a site and changed the format to a clam-bake style cook-out, having it catered by a Hen Harvey of Oakhurst who prepared the feast of clams, chicken, potatoes, corn, lobster, etc.  along with the usual beverages and cards, craps, etc. as entertainment—usually served about 4 p.m.
In 1945 as WWJI was winding down, a fellow by the name of Bill Ambrose who held the advertising classification in the club was able (thru his former N.Y. influence) to get a full page spread in the old “N.Y. World Telegram”, since deceased, which was picked up by “The Rotarian” Magazine which printed a two page spread with pictures in the July 1946 issue of “The Rotarian.” This article raised some doubts in the minds of two New England clubs as to whether ours was truly a “Clambake” The clubs in Greenfield, Mass. and Revere, Mass. questioned our integrity in “Articles to the Editor,” appearing in “The Rotarian” in September 1946. We were able to get copies of those articles from Rotary International and Jay had them mounted and will have them on display at our 50th Anniversary party.  See below for a copy of THE ROTARIAN article.
In 1946 Peter Genovese, Sr. became a member of our club and joined up with Dan Dondi and Vic Satter in co-chairing the Bar-be-que and Cook-out which moved to the newly built Farmers and Gardeners Camp on Cat Bird Alley in Holmdel in the late 50’s. The format was changed to begin the festivities at noon for lunch of shrimp, clams, sausages, eggplant and dinner at 5 p.m. with roast beef, corn, melons, etc., washed down with the usual beverage. At this time it was decided to invite our friends in Lions-Kiwanis to join with us, along with all of the Past District Governors to enjoy this day of fun and frolic.
With the passing of our friend Danny, his place was picked up by “young” Jay Patock in 1978, who with Pete #1 has chaired the committee in continuing this annual affair. The years at the Farmers & Gardeners were most enjoyable and the atmosphere was perfect for our day of Rotary fellowship, but all things must come to an end. The Farmers & Gardeners Camp has been sold for development so in 1986 and 1987 we used Bodman Park. This year we will be using YMCA Camp Arrowhead in Marlboro. Jay has done a yeoman’s job in chairing this committee making all the arrangements and coordinating the many committees needed to make this affair successful. Jay is going all out in making this 58th Anniversary Bar-be-que the best ever in salute to those who have gone before us: Danny, Pete Sr., and Vic, thus the label “Pete Genovese/Dan Dondi Memorial Picnic.”
Hopefully, with an outstanding group of Past District Governors attending and proper documentation with pictures, we may be able to pressure “The Rotarian” to print something in the magazine to recognize the 58th Anniversary of our clam bake as a follow-up to their July 1946 article!
Mark your calendar for Wednesday, August 28th and plan to attend. 
The annual Bar-be-que picnic was held at Camp Arrowhead until 2002.  From 2003 thru 2006, under the supervision of Steven Sanfilippo it was held on Sandy Hook at the Chapel.  In 2007, Harry Snyder took over and moved the festivities to Monmouth Raceway.