The large scarlet letter “A” printed on the back of a white victory robe that Nick Kraus wore Saturday night does not stand for “adultery”.
The “A” is symbol for his new title as Mr. Amagansett 2012, and it matches his red velvet crown, bouquet of red roses and makeshift staff.
Ten contestants vied for the title of Mr. Amagansett during the third annual pageant held at the Stephen Talkhouse, a venue in Amagansett known for performances by legendary artists, such as Paul McCartney, Patti Smith and Billy Joel.
Kraus won over the judges with a comical short film about his depression after losing his second consecutive pageant and his journey toward victory for his third attempt.
“This year I just got honest. I got honest with my campaign. I realized what I was about and what I had to strive for,” said Kraus, an employee at the Stephen Talkhouse.
The pageant was created in honor of Donald T. Sharkey, who died at age 46 in 2009 and was a beloved member of the community that worked as a chief building inspector.
“It’s a cutthroat event. It’s our third year doing it and everyone is vying for the title. The winners from the first two years are trying to win back the title,” said 51-year-old Patty Sales, the president of the Donald T. Sharkey Community Memorial Fund.
More than 100 people attended Saturday’s event that raised more than $2,000 for the fund which sponsors local fire departments, scholarships for students, families in need of assistance and the East End Soldier Ride for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Along with their performances, contestants shared humorous memories about Sharkey and guests drank a shot of his favorite tequila, Jose Cuervo, is his honor.
“He had a huge heart and just left us way too early and too young,” Sales said. “This is our way of keeping his spirit alive, as the original Mr. Amagansett, and having a lot of fun as he always did.”
Contestants’ talents included reciting poetry, singing, dancing, performing the hula in a grass skirt and even smashing food with a giant wooden hammer.
One of the more comical performances was that of newcomer Joe Bloecker. He danced to the song “YMCA” with his friends while dressed as the Village People. For the finale, he pulled up his shirt to reveal the words “Vote Joe” written in red on his stomach.
“It’s February in East Hampton and there’s no one here but local people,” said Bloecker. “If I’m going to embarrass myself in front of somebody, I’m going to do it in front of my friends.”