Hatfield Lobster Fest tribute to Helen Bardwell

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    Marcia Sheehan of Hatfield displays an image of her friend, the late Helen "Huddie" Bardwell. Bardwell will be honored during this year's Lobster Fest at the First Congregational Church of Hatfield -- a yearly tradition started by Bardwell. SARAH CROSBY/Gazette Staff

Published: 7/28/2016 4:03:23 PM

HATFIELD – Churchgoers will pay tribute to the late Helen “Huddie” Bardwell while celebrating their 20th annual Lobster Fest fundraiser on Aug. 6.

Each year, an estimated 200 lobster dinners are prepared by volunteers at the First Congregational Church of Hatfield. Bardwell, who is known for her active involvement within the church and town, pioneered the tradition with the church women’s group Real Folks Society in 1996. She died Aug. 1, 2015, one day before her 87th birthday.

“She was certainly a community leader in so many aspects,” said church member Marcia Sheehan of Bardwell, who participated in town activities including multiple church positions, leader of a 4-H club and a member of the Hatfield Book Club, Hatfield Historical Society and Hatfield Fife and Drum Corps.

“She and her husband were the ‘go to’ people,” Sheehan said.

This year’s event marks the second without Bardwell, but her spirit will live on through the 30 volunteers who will spend two days preparing the take-out meals. Sheehan said the group will take a moment in the kitchen to say a prayer for her.

Each meal will contain a boiled lobster with drawn butter, baked potato, corn on the cob, coleslaw, rolls with butter and a fudge brownie. The potatoes, sweet corn and cabbage will be sourced from local farms. 

“They get a complete lobster dinner, they don’t have to cook over a hot stove and cleanup is relatively easy,” said Sheehan of those who purchase the meal. “It’s a great way to get together with a group of friends.”

The church reports an annual estimated profit of $2,000 from the event, which costs $20 per person. The money is put toward general church funding and used to purchase kitchen supplies.

The Lobster Fest is one of four community dinners put on by the church each year. Take-out times are 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Reservations are required by Tuesday. Joan Start and Jeannie Belden will assist in ticket purchase at 247-5731 and 247-5905. Group orders are welcome and may be picked up  at the church’s back porch, 41 Main St.

Sarah Crosby can be reached at scrosby@gazettenet.com.


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