SHIP BOTTOM, NJ - The Chowder Capital of New Jersey has a vibe worth exploring during a weekend of top food competition, live music and plenty of fall festival moments. Plans for the famous 31st Aunnal Chowderfest Weekend are underway.

This popular event is a ritual for LBI Region to officially welcome fall. This epic two day festival is held rain or shine with Merchant Mart kicking things off October 5.

Merchant Mart is a free event featuring dozens of merchants selling end of season bargains and services.

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Along with Crunchy the T. Rex (aka Chowdasaurus),  hands on children's crafts and free activities, a specialty food court, exclusive Chowdawear merchandise for sale as well as beer, hard cider and wine by the glass. Live music from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. from Garage Kept, 40 North and Jimmy Brogan Band.

At the Cook off Classic, restaurants are the stars of the show on Sunday Oct 6.

2019 line up to date features:

White chowder competitors: Country Kettle, Chicken or the Egg, Howard's, Kubels 2, Hotel LBI, Ocean County College/Stockton University Team and invitational competitor Bread & Brine from Hastings on Hudson NY.  

Red competitors: Lefty's Tavern, The Mainland, Bistro 14 and Black Whale. Creative Category which is seafood inspired offerings include: La Bamba, The Woo Hoo, Buckalew's, Cuisine on the Green and Breakers.

The Chowder Cook-Off  heats up at 11 a.m  with VIPs at 10 a.m including an official taster's t-shirt, access to Bud Lite Big Screen Bar with dedicated food and beverage service.

Great chowder is accompanied by great live music, performing Sunday are: Ted Hammock and Jason Booth, The Pickles and The Impulsives.  

Each competing restaurant prepares over 200 gallons of their secret recipe providing ticket holders with unlimited samples to earn their vote in three categories.

Voters get to experience the themed booths, enthusiastic servers and a number of surprises under the big tents as they decide who will be their choice this year.

Attendees can vote and cheer the winners at closing ceremonies scheduled at 4pm.

Tickets will be on sale at www.chowderfest.com or  the Southern Ocean County Chamber.

Toddlers under 3 are free, Tickets for Oct 6 range from Children to age 12 $10, General Admission $30, VIP $65.

Cheers to long standing sponsors Sysco Foods, The Sandpaper/Beachcomber, Bud Light, Ritchie & Paige Distributors, Barefoot Wines, Westminster Bakers Company, TD Bank, Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders and NJ Division of Travel and Tourism.

Special thank you to: Volunteer t-shirt sleeve sponsors Panzone's & Barlow Auto Group,  and Atlantic States Group.

North & South Gate Sponsors: Fantasy Island Amusement Park, Truss Tower Sponsor  G. Anderson Agency.

For more info, www.chowderfest.com 

For up to date information go to Official LBI Chowderfest Facebook page or the Southern Ocean County Chamber at 609-494-7211,  265 West Ninth Street Ship Bottom.