Make-a-Wish Fundraiser

Rowayton Seafood hosts Make-a-Wish fundraiser with Darien Family



(from left) Elisa Persinger, Piper Cush, and Ciara Thurlow, all from Darien.

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For the last seven years, Clay Persinger of Darien has hosted a June fishing tournament for his business clients and fishing-enthusiast friends called Bass-A-Palooza. The after-tournament celebration used to take place in his back yard, but this year he wanted to turn it into a fund-raiser and have it at a fishing-related location. A regular diner at The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood (89 Rowayton Ave, Rowayton), Persinger convinced The Restaurant’s owner, Kevin Conroy, to dedicate staff and space on Saturday, June 7, 2014 to help throw the event. Conroy ultimately agreed because large portions of the tournament registration fee proceeds were going to the Connecticut Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Of all the non-profits out there, Persinger honed in on Make-A-Wish because of the “Batman kid who made a wish in San Francisco last November.” Persinger says he “was inspired by how that city went out of the way to help the kid forget about his serious medical issues.” For every dollar donated, 82 cents goes directly to granting a terminally ill child’s wish. It can take about $10,000 to grant a wish. The Connecticut chapter has made 2,400 wishes come true since 1986. To date, Persinger has raised almost half a wish (around $5,000). Donations are still being accepted through this website.

After a full day out on the water, about 100 tournament fishers cleaned up and enjoyed Rowayton Seafood’s dock, which overlooks the scenic Five Mile River, and BBQ (hotdogs, burgers, corn, and more) as well as some cool live music from 4 to 8 pm. Awards were given out in the following categories: Largest Bass (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), Largest Bluefish, Largest Fish on the Fly, Most Unusual Catch, and new this year, Largest Fish Caught on a Barbie Rod. Persinger said, “The trophy is sweet for this category.” Persinger’s wife, Elisa, arrived in time to take photos of the trophy winners.

After the event, Persinger said, “My wife and I are very happy with how it all went. It was a great venue and I have already planted the seed with Conroy to see if we can have it at Rowayton Seafood again next year.” Conroy says, “I wish I’d had the time to fish with these guys that day. It was a perfect weather day and they were a great bunch and it was all for a great cause.”

The BBQ buffet was ready to go for the hungry fishermen
The BBQ buffet was ready to go for the hungry fishermen

(from left) Clay Persinger, James Palen, and Mark Brown, all from Darien.
(from left) Clay Persinger, James Palen, and Mark Brown, all from Darien.

Connor Palen, of Darien, came to the trophy ceremony to cheer on his dad, James.
Connor Palen, of Darien, came to the trophy ceremony to cheer on his dad, James.

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