SHIP BOTTOM, N.J. -- Chowderfest Weekend is almost here! This iconic event has extended the summer season to keep the party rolling a few weeks longer. Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce members have prepared a memorable weekend to kick off fall by pulling out all the stops for a two day festival.
Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce presents its 29th Annual Cook Off Classic, one of the top food festivals in the North East. Welcome fall into the Long Beach Island Region with a heated food competition, where every ticket holder gets a vote!
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. Children's entertainment will include hands on crafts from The Learning Experience, Face Painting by Sprinkles the Clown, and will be the introduction of Crunchy the T Rex in his first ever Long Beach Island appearance. Crunchy feeding times will be 12pm -1pm and 2pm - 3pm. For the adults, a select variety beers on tap and hard ciders are available, including Bud Light, Landshark Lager, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Spaten Oktoberfest, Goose Island IPA, Stella Cidre, Strongbow, and McKenzie Black Cherry. With the expansion of the Chowderfest grounds look for more to love this year, with more seating, room under the tents and by the stage.
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. Children's activities will also be available throughout out the day with the Learning Experience and Face painting by Sarah Cannavo. Winners will be announced at closing ceremonies, which are scheduled for 4 p.m. with Glenn Kalina from WJRZ as Master of Ceremonies. The restaurant line up is impressive, featuring New England Chowder competitors Buckalew's Restaurant and Tavern, Chicken or the Egg, Country Kettle Chowda, Howard's Restaurant, and La Bamba Mexican Restaurant. Manhattan Chowder brings out Black Whale Bar & Fish House, Lefty's Tavern, Shore Fire Grille, Southern Ocean Medical Center's Beach Plum Café, Stefano's Restaurant, Sunny Rae's Kitchen Food Truck Crew.
Back for a second year the Creative Seafood Chowder features Blue Water Café, Cuisine on the Green at Atlantis, Delaware Avenue Oyster House, and with a double entry La Bamba Mexican Restaurant.
Sunday's music lineup includes The Pickles, Ted Hammock, Jason Booth and Funk Schway. This is a ticketed event, which 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 email@example.com. 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 handing out, and giveaways. On Sunday the free Chowderfest shuttle is back for parking and can be picked up at 42nd St, 60th St, 68th St, 85th St, 95th St, 133rd St, and Engleside Ave, Beach Haven. Last bus leaves Chowderfest grounds at 6pm.
In addition to the many new and exciting offerings, as part of Southern Ocean Chamber's Downtown Driven program with the boroughs of Beach Haven and Tuckerton – a free water taxi service is available based on first come reservations. Enjoy a one hour boat ride across the Barnegat Bay leaving from Tuckerton Seaport allowing you three and half hours to explore. Enjoy free Merchant Mart on Saturday or purchase your tickets to pop into Sunday's Cook Off Classic. Trips are scheduled to begin at 9am, for more information and to make reservations contact Tuckerton Seaport directly at 609 296-8868.
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. It also provides local organizations to plan successful events around festival hours such as the Shellfish Soiree at Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences on Friday evening Sept 29 from 7-10pm and Saturday night Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band, Saints in the City performing at Surflight Theatre Sept 30 with a 830pm Showtime.
For more information please go to www.chowderfest.com or contact Southern Ocean Chamber at 609.494.7211, firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop in at 265 W. Ninth Street, Ship Bottom. Southern Ocean Chamber would like to thank 2017 sponsors for their belief in making this the best festival possible. Presenting sponsors include Sysco , Ritchie & Page, Bud Light, TD Bank, and The Sandpaper/Beachcomber. This year's stage sponsor is Barlow Buick GMC, VIP Sponsor Anderson Insurance Agency, Voting Tent Sponsor AtlantiCare, T-Shirt Sponsors Panzone's Pizza and Jetty. Tourism Marketing Partners: State of NJ, Division of Travel and Tourism and the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Oyster Crackers are sponsored by Westminster Bakers Co. Additional support provided by Fantasy Island Amusement Park, Potts Excavating Inc, Sally's Seafood, The Borough of Beach Haven, Southwick’s Marina, Beach Haven Police, Fire & First Aid Squad, Thundering Surf and Murphy's Market. Special thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who make this possible.