This story first ran on TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como.

The New Jersey Seafood Festival in Belmar is certainly living up to its name, as the three-day event rolls into the borough’s downtown district this weekend.

From May 17 through May 19, a host of Belmar restaurants will offer a bounty of palate-pleasing selections from the sea at the festival’s new venue — the Pyanoe Plaza parking lot, centrally located between Eighth and 10th Avenues at Main Street.

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There will be lobster rolls, empanadas and bisque, as well as the perennial favorite — whole, steamed lobster served with melted butter. These local chefs will also be dishing out other crustacean delights, including coconut shrimp on a stick, curry shrimp, shrimp and grits, and shrimp cocktail, as well as crab legs, fritters, fried crabs and a crayfish platter.

Seafood lovers will also find on the menu Caribbean red snapper, blackened salmon, seafood paella and alligator sausage.

Landlubbers, take heart. A plenitude of other food choices will include Italian and Asian favorites, hot dogs and hoagies, barbecue fare and vegan options.  

And to satisfy any sweet tooth, funnel cakes, fried oreos, apple fritters, frozen fruit in chocolate, doughnuts and cupcakes are just a sampling of what’s on the dessert menu.

High-top tables will be situated throughout the venue, giving attendees a place to enjoy their tasty selections, and there will be a dedicated area where beer, wine and margaritas will be available with a $5 admission charge.

While dozens of food, artisans and other vendors will be situated in the main parking area, live entertainment will be featured in adjacent Pyanoe Plaza, which faces Main Street.

Local favorite Pat Roddy will perform on Friday evening, followed by a full schedule on Saturday — the Beach Music Rock Band, Danny White Band and Holme in the afternoon with Tommy B and the Deep Blue Sea in the evening. On Sunday, Elvis tribute artist Jim Barone will put on two afternoon shows.

Since the festival is situated just steps away from the Belmar train station, attendees are being encouraged to hop aboard a train serviced by the NJ Transit’s North Jersey Coast Line. For the train schedule, click here or visit NJ Transit’s website to plan your trip.

Parking will be available along streets and in lots in the downtown district, as well as at the nearby Belmar marina along Route 35.

Now in its 33rd year, the festival, which draws tens of thousands of people, is moving from its longstanding location along Belmar’s beachfront to a larger venue in its downtown district. The move is aimed at giving the borough’s year-round merchants — stores, restaurants, bars and other retail establishments — an early boost for the summer season.

READ MORE: New Location for NJ Seafood Festival: Three-Day Event Heads to Downtown Belmar

The New Jersey Seafood Festival will be held, rain or shine on the following days and times:

  • Friday, May 17:  4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 18:  11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 19:  11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

While admission to the event is free, many participating eateries and food vendors have set special pricing for its festival fare.

Among Belmar’s own eateries that will be serving up festival favorites are:

  • Coney Waffle
  • Federico’s
  • Hoagitos
  • Jakes Downtown
  • Jason’s Corner Restaurant
  • Jersey Shore BBQ
  • Jimmy’s Place
  • Joe's Bagel and Grill
  • Klein's
  • Kotta Sushi Asian
  • La Dolce Vita
  • Marina Grille
  • Mr. Shrimp
  • Rajun Cajun
  • 10th Ave Burrito Company
  • Simply Southern
  • Sonny's Grill


For more information, call the Belmar Tourism Commission at 732-681-3700, ext. 214. For the most recent updates, visit Belmar’s Facebook page. Make sure to use the hashtag #BelmarSeafoodFestival to contribute and see all festival posts.

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