Shore Report

Belmar Mayor Grants ‘Larry the Lobster’ His Freedom to Kick Off New Jersey Seafood Festival

Belmar Mayor Brian Magovern and 8-year-old grandson Drew Marturano get ready to give “Larry the Lobster” his pardon at the start of the New Jersey Seafood Festival. Credits: Jennifer Nicolay
The 6-pound lobster was donated by Brandl restaurant, as special T-shirts were made to commemorate Larry the Lobster's pardon. Credits: Jennifer Nicolay
The New Jersey Seafood Festival in Belmar gets off to a rainy start on Friday, May 18, with hopes of improving weather as the weekend progresses. Credits: Cathy Goetz

BELMAR, NJ — Belmar Mayor Brian Magovern wasn’t going to let the rough ocean surf and high winds get in his way yesterday of pardoning “Larry the Lobster” to begin the New Jersey Seafood Festival.

Instead, Magovern moved the May 18 event from the Fifth Avenue beach to the quieter waters of the Shark River Inlet. Accompanied by a small group of borough officials and others, the lobster was placed among the rocks of the jetty and set free — beginning what Magovern hopes will become an annual tradition of the popular three-day festival.

“May you never smell melted butter, have your claws bound by rubber bands or nor have your tail appear in the daily special of a restaurant’s menu,” Magovern read in a proclamation giving Larry his newfound freedom.

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While the 6-pound lobster was donated by Brandl restaurant, a member of the Belmar Water Rescue Team helped ensure the lobster was safely released into the waters — after the rubber bands were clipped, of course.

The mayor’s pardon generated the following statement from PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman: “Just as humans do, lobsters feel pain and fear, have unique personalities, and value their own lives. No one wants to be boiled a live, and PETA is calling on people everywhere to pardon all lobsters by keeping them off their plates."

Meanwhile, festival organizers are hopeful Larry’s luck will rub off on them, as the rain is expected to continue through today, May 19. But the show will go on, as they say— rain or shine —from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow, May 20 at Silver Lake Park, Fifth and Ocean Avenue.

The festival features an abundance of seafood selections and other fare favorites dished out by food vendors, as well as live music, a beer tent and wine garden, contests, kids’ activities and craft vendors.

While there will be limited parking around the venue itself, free parking will be available at the municipal parking lot at Fifth and River Road, and Dempsey Park on 16th Avenue.

Free shuttles will run through Belmar continuously on both days with stops at the Belmar Marina and Belmar train station, delivering visitors to the end of Silver Lake at Fifth Avenue, adjacent to the festival.

Presented by the Belmar Tourism Commission, admission is free. Pets are not permitted.

For updates, visit the New Jersey Seafood Festival’s Facebook page.

TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como is Belmar and Lake Como’s only free daily newspaper. Accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, it is the official electronic newspaper of both municipalities. As a locally owned news organization, TAPinto through its advertisers is able to publish online, objective news 24/7 at no charge. Sign up for its free daily e-News, and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

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