The 56th Annual Babylon Tuna Club Invitational Tournament will kick off tomorrow afternoon as a large crowd is expect to flood the Babylon Marina to watch the area's top fishermen try to land the big one in the waters just offshore of Babylon Village.
The annual tournament pits local fisherman against each other to reel in the local water's biggest tuna. The actual tournament begins on Friday morning at 4:30 a.m. when the first boats leave to begin their haul. The Babylon Tuna Club, however, has a long list of fun events going on in connection with the event throughout the weekend.
"Over the last five to ten years, we have made a commitment to dedicate the tournament and fish sales to our country's veterans," said Mary Adams, treasurer of the Tuna Club and co-chairperson of the tournament. "The American Legion Post 94 has handled our fish sales right from off the boats. People can buy everything from take home fish, to grilled or even sandwiches right there. All the proceeds go towards veterans and our troops."
The event kicks off on Thursday with t-shirt sales and a Captain's meeting at 7:00 p.m. before a large outdoor buffet dinner will be served by . The boats will begin their hunt at 4:30 a.m. on Friday morning and the club will host a large scale Country Line Dancing event at 7:10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday will also include live music throughout the day on the shoreline and the awards presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. sharp on Sunday night.
All entrants will be given a Babylon Tuna Club one-year membership and top prize could rake in as much as $52,000!
The tournament started 56 years ago, ironically, in 1956 and has developed into a real Babylon tradition.
"This tournament is the only one with an overnight category and involves a charity," said Adams. "It's wonderful – we carry on the tradition of the village."
The tournament has continue to grow since its inception and, while still a tournament at its heart, become an event dedicated to helping others.
"The beauty of it is seeing a real comradery among the fisherman," said Adams. "There's nothing better than seeing them come back with a tuna or a shark and donating it to the troops."