A major sponsor of the annual Oyster Festival that attracts tens of thousands of attendees has cut its $20,000 sponsorship in half, a decision that Oyster Bay Town officials said jeopardizes the event.
The festival draws about 150,000 people each year to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and is scheduled to be held Oct. 19-20.
"We are proud to offer multifaceted support to the Oyster Festival, as we have been in past years, which includes financial support, free Public Service Announcements about the festival to run on Optimum TV as well as coverage of the event by News 12," Altice USA spokeswoman Lisa Anselmo said Friday in a statement.
A festival representative and a spokesman for the Town of Oyster said earlier Friday that Altice, a Long Island City based-telecommunications company that also has an office in Bethpage, withdrew its full $20,000 sponsorship.
The spokesman, Brian Nevin, said town officials were alerted Thursday that the “festival is in jeopardy” and said that Oyster Bay would waive a $20,000 sanitation fee to help festival organizers manage expenses.
He said later on Friday that officials learned Friday afternoon that Altice will instead donate $10,000.
A spokeswoman for the festival said late Friday that she has received no notice from Altice of a monetary commitment.
Town officials said a news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to appeal to local residents and businesses to sponsor the event.
“We cannot allow this great annual tradition — one that offers activities for the whole family while benefitting so many charitable organizations — to simply fade away,” Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said in a statement. “While the Town is doing its part to help fill the void, we need good corporate citizens to come forward and help save the day by sponsoring The Oyster Festival.”