BEACH HAVEN, NJ - The official end of summer is here.  It is time for the 29th Annual Chowderfest Weekend Saturday and Sunday.  The weekend starts with Saturday's free Merchant Mart presenting live music from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. Attendees can spend the day with dozens of merchants to shop for end of season bargains, localized specialties and food tent.

This years expanded grounds include more seating.  A dedicated Make Shift Row tent has been added to the fest. The new market space designed to inspire will be filled with handmade products for sale. There will be a custom beverage menu full of flavorful beers and hard ciders on tap.

All roads lead to Sunday's Chowder Cook Off Classic, as the best restaurants in the region square off for all ticket holder votes with unlimited red, white and creative chowder samples. VIPs gain early access to the tents to taste and view the decorative booths beginning at 10 a.m.

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In addition to the coveted early entry, VIPs get the official 2017 VIP Shirt. Platinum VIP which in addition to early entry and shirt, gets access to the new Beer Garden with big screen televisions. General Admission begins at 11 a.m.

The Chowderfest competitors include Country Kettle, Chicken or the Egg, Cuisine on the Green, Howard's Restaurant, Shore Fire Grille, SunnyRae's, Lefty's Tavern, Stefano's Seafood, Black Whale, Delaware Avenue Oyster House, Buckalew's, La Bamba, and Blue Water Café.

Great chowder on Sunday will be accompanied by great live music. Attendees can enjoy the delicious food tent, avoid long lines with extra beer and cider taps, shop exclusive Chowdawear merchandise, vote and cheer on the winners at closing ceremonies.

Tickets are now on sale at Chowderfest.com or the Southern Ocean County Chamber at 609 494 7211, 265 W Ninth Street Ship Bottom Toddlers under 3 are free, Tickets for Oct 1 Cook Off range from Children to age 12 $10, General Admission $25, VIP $55, and Platinum VIP $100.