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Belmar Mayor’s Pardoning of Lobster Will Kick Off New Jersey Seafood Festival

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The tents are up on the soggy grounds of Silver Lake in Belmar, with lots of fingers crossed that this weekend's 2018 New Jersey Seafood Festival will be spared heavy rains. Credits: Cathy Goetz
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An aerial view of last year's New Jersey Seafood Festival along Belmar’s oceanfront shows the arrival of visitors on its first day. Credits: Matthew Doherty
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BELMAR, NJ — With the start of the New Jersey Seafood Festival tomorrow, Belmar Mayor Brian Magovern wants to show a lobster some love.

At 3:30 p.m. on May 18, he will kick off the annual three-day event by pardoning “Lucky Larry the Lobster” on the Fifth Avenue beach and then releasing it into the ocean … hopefully.

“In my power as mayor, I want to pardon a lobster,”said Magovern, adding he's been pondering this idea for several years. “We’re going to take it out of a bucket of water and offer him his freedom and hopefully he’ll crawl into the water.”

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If the lobster is reluctant to accept his newfound freedom, Magovern quipped that he may have a lifeguard on hand to take the lobster by kayak to the jetty near the Shark River Inlet and release him on the rocks, where he can “enjoy the rest of his life butter-free.”

Festival officials need a little luck themselves as dreary, wet weather is expected throughout the weekend, with a chance of clearing skies by Sunday.  

Regardless of the forecast, the festival will be held — rain or shine — at Silver Lake Park, Fifth and Ocean Avenue, featuring live music, a beer tent and wine garden, contests, kids’ activities, craft vendors and, of course, seafood.

Here is the schedule:

  • Friday, May 18: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 19: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 20:  11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Due to the thousands of attendees expected for the event, there will be limited parking around the venue itself. As a result, 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 from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday, 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. There will be no shuttle service on Friday.

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

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

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