Hysterical Fun for a Serious Cause

Charlie Canavan, right, thanked the owner of Billy’s on the Bay in Greenport on Saturday, one stop on his Sag Harbor Hysterical Society boat poker run. Carrie Ann Salvi

    A boat poker run from the Sag Harbor Yacht Club on Saturday that included live music and stops at four restaurants benefited the Sag Harbor Hysterical Society’s quiet efforts to help locals in need.
    Charlie Canavan, a pilot and father of three from Sag Harbor, has been president of the underground society that operates through word of mouth for 10 years, helping to raise money through fun and madcap events like Saturday’s poker run. “It can really help,” Mr. Canavan said aboard his 33-foot Chris-Craft on Saturday. Along with a few other boats, musicians, and over two dozen people who paid a small admission fee, he made stops at Orient by the Sea, Billy’s on the Bay in Greenport, Pepi’s in Southold, and SALT on Shelter Island. The restaurants offered food in exchange for music by Johnny Pipes and Brian.
    Although there were fewer participants than in past poker runs, it was a “beautiful day,” Mr. Canavan said, and “everyone had fun.”
    The beneficiaries of the Hysterical Society’s efforts are kept anonymous, Mr. Canavan said, explaining that some can’t even pay for the parking fees at the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.