LONG BEACH ISLAND – The summer season is getting an extension well past Labor Day for both visitors and businesses. One of the most well-known festivals on the East Coast and “the” festival of Long Beach Island – Chowderfest Weekend – is celebrating its 29th year from September 30 to October 1 at Taylor Avenue and 9th Street Waterfront in Beach Haven.
The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce Chowderfest Committee has jam-packed tons of food, entertainment and fun over the course of the two-day celebration, including multiple band line-ups, expanded grounds, more shopping and a new beer garden.
The weekend kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 30 with a free Merchant Mart and Make Shift Row Tent with handmade products for sale. Dozens of merchants will be offering end-of-season bargains, local specialties and gourmet food. Live music from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. features Jimmy Brogan, White Rabbit and The Impulsives. There will be more beers on tap than ever and a custom beverage menu packed with flavorful beers and hard ciders, including Bud Light, Landshark Lager, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Spaten Oktoberfest, Goose Island IPA, Stella Cidre, Strongbow and McKenzie Black Cherry.
Chowderfest grounds will be expanded to offer more seating for a growing number of attendees, including a Southern Ocean Chamber Partner and Sponsor Lounge, additional tent for merchants and featured beer garden.
“Everything we are doing is to showcase the local musical talent, restaurants and businesses,” said Todd Elsasser, Chowderfest Coordinator in a statement. “The expanded footprint is a great way to see what local businesses and people can do.”
The Chowder Cook-Off Classic heats up on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. as some of the best restaurants in the area face off for the tastiest chowder. All ticket holders can sample and place votes for the best red, white and creative chowders, with VIPs getting early access to the chowder tents to taste and view competitors’ decorative booths at 10 a.m. Winners will be announced at closing ceremonies, which are scheduled for 4 p.m.
Past Chowder Cook-Off Classic competitors have included Country Kettle, Chicken or the Egg, Cuisine on the Green, Howard’s Restaurant, Shore Fire Grille, SunnyRae’s, Lefty’s Tavern, Stefano’s Seafood, Black Whale, Delaware Avenue Oyster House, Buckalew’s, La Bamba and Blue Water Café.
Sunday’s music lineup includes The Pickles, Ted Hammock and Jason Booth.
Tickets are on sale at chowderfest.com or by contacting the Southern Ocean County Chamber at 609-494-7211, visiting their Visitor Center at 265 West Ninth Street in Ship Bottom, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Toddlers under the age of three get free admission.
Tickets for the October 1 Cook-Off cost: Children to age 12 – $10, General Admission – $25, VIP – $55 and Platinum VIP – $100.
VIPs get early access to the Chowder Cook-Off Classic and an official 2017 VIP Shirt, and Platinum VIPs, limited to 150 tickets, get entry to the new Beer Garden with big screen TVs, Bud Girls hanging out, and giveaways.
Proceeds earned from Chowderfest Weekend have gone to providing three decades of financial support to hundreds of local charities and events, as well as scholarships to Pinelands Regional, Southern Regional and Barnegat high schools. Funds are also used to maintain the Southern Ocean Chamber’s fully-staffed visitor center located in Ship Bottom, advertise the area to visitors and organize events that deliver economic impact, such as the LBI Wedding Road Show.
The Southern Ocean Chamber is looking forward to the 30th Anniversary Chowderfest next year and would like to introduce a Chowder For A Cause, where a percentage of the net proceeds will go to a local nonprofit that has applied through an online application. The chosen charity will be announced after this year’s Chowderfest.
Businesses looking to find out more about the new Chowderfest Retail Partnership should contact the Chamber office at 609-494-7211.