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Port Jefferson maritime festival features pirates, boats and clams

Representing Flyboard LI, Sean Petterson of Mt. Sinai,

Representing Flyboard LI, Sean Petterson of Mt. Sinai, 26, takes to the air on a flyboard during the Port Jefferson Boater's Maritime Festival at Harborfront Park in Port Jefferson Saturday, June 2, 2017.

With friends and family cheering him on, Robert Biangazzo downed 20 clams in just 30 seconds.

That final round performance was enough to crown the Ronkonkoma man winner of the popular clam-eating contest at the Port Jefferson Boater’s Maritime Festival.

“I was hoping we’d have cocktail sauce and lemon. That would have made it easier, but we had to do without,” Biangazzo said with a laugh afterward.

From Long Island to Connecticut and even a few states beyond, hundreds turned out Saturday to line the harborfront of Port Jefferson.

Biangazzo, a retired Marine, said he heard about the 6th annual festival from a friend and decided to give his stomach a clam-swallowing challenge.

“It’s a great neighborhood, a great community and a great party,” he declared.

The weekend festivities usually draw 10,000 people over two days, according to Grace Waters, an event organizer with Port Jefferson’s Economic Development Council.

Featuring free demonstrations of kayaks, paddleboards and sailing craft, live music and treasure hunts with pirates, the event pays homage to Port Jefferson’s maritime roots.

Linnae Janky, 35, was visiting from Nebraska with her 4-year-old daughter Layla and a friend, Melissa Scriven, 40, of Stony Brook.

“It’s nice weather, so we figured we’d come out and take advantage of it,” Scriven said. “This is the best part — just sitting, relaxing and eating the food.”

Dressed as a pirate and going by the name “Handsome Devlin,” Colin Gordon, 43, of Philadelphia and 8 members of the traveling group Pirates of Fortune’s Folly led children and adults on a treasure hunt that sprawled through Harborfront Park.

“The children really get into it,” Gordon said. “ . . . Just seeing those faces light up, it makes it all worthwhile.”

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