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New clam champ crowned at Peter's Clam Bar's annual contest in Island Park

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Hundreds of spectators and contestants gathered at Peter’s Clam Bar on a sun-soaked Sunday afternoon for the establishment’s sixth annual clam-eating contest to benefit firefighters.

The competition started as a post-Hurricane Sandy fundraiser for the Island Park Fire Department, which had suffered a catastrophic loss of equipment from saltwater damage. Since then the event has morphed into a friendly competition among local fire departments, in which volunteer men and women test their skills — and their stomachs — by eating thousands of raw clams for a good cause.

Island Park firefighter Pete Adams was the champion of this year’s contest, and walked away with a commemorative championship belt to prove his mettle. Charlie Hendry, the 2018 champion, was unable to maintain his crown this year and represented the Hempstead Fire Department.

The festivities began with the firehouse challenge at 1 p.m., which was followed by a public challenge at 2:30. All proceeds benefitted the Nassau County Firefighters Pipes & Drums, which performed during the event.