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Rowayton Seafood Hosts Make-A-Wish Fundraiser With Darien Family

From left: Clay Persinger, James Palen, and Mark Brown, all from Darien.
From left: Clay Persinger, James Palen, and Mark Brown, all from Darien. Photo Credit: Christina Cush
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. Photo Credit: Christina Cush
Trophies waiting to be given.
Trophies waiting to be given. Photo Credit: Christina Cush
From left: Elisa Persinger, Piper Cush, and Ciara Thurlow, all from Darien.
From left: Elisa Persinger, Piper Cush, and Ciara Thurlow, all from Darien. Photo Credit: Christina Cush
From left: James Palen, Banc Jones, Clay Persinger, Mark Brown and Bob Kinnie, all from Darien.
From left: James Palen, Banc Jones, Clay Persinger, Mark Brown and Bob Kinnie, all from Darien. Photo Credit: Christina Cush

DARIEN, Conn. - 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 backyard, 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., Persinger persuaded the owner, Kevin Conroy, to dedicate staff and space to help host the event. Conroy 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 nonprofits out there, Persinger chose Make-A-Wish because of the “Batman kid who made a wish in San Francisco last November.”

He “was inspired by how that city went out of the way to help the kid forget about his serious medical issues,” he said. 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 (about $5,000). Donations are still being accepted through his 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 a barbecue of hotdogs, burgers, corn, and more as well as some cool live music from 4 to 8 p.m.

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.

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