SHIP BOTTOM, N.J.
- Aug. 22, 2019
-- As summer fades into fall, Long Beach Island begins to buzz in anticipation of the iconic event that draws thousands back for their chowder pilgrimage each year. Chowderfest Weekend is a community event that brings out long standing volunteers, active sponsors and competitive restaurants. Started by Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce in 1989 to extend the season and to keep merchants and restaurants open past Labor Day; it is now synonymous with the island itself. Each restaurant prepares over 200 gallons of their secret recipe to provide unlimited samples to earn their vote in the Red, White and Creative categories. Ticketholders get to experience the themed booths, enthusiastic servers and a number of surprises under the big tents as they decide their favorite.
Saturday, October 5 is a free event featuring dozens of merchants selling end of season bargains. Entertainment includes Chowdasaurus, children's crafts and free activities, specialty food court, exclusive Chowdawear; beer, hard cider and wine. Live music from Garage Kept, 40 North and Jimmy Brogan Band. This epic two day festival is held rain or shine and has become a ritual to welcome fall. The Cook off Classic is where the restaurants become the stars on Sunday October 6. Competitors include: White chowder Chicken or the Egg, Kubels 2, Hotel LBI, Ocean County College and Bread & Brine. Red includes Lefty's Tavern, The Mainland, Bistro 14, Cluck N Crabs and Black Whale. Creative seafood include: La Bamba, The Woo Hoo, Buckalew's, Country Kettle, Cuisine on the Green and Breakers. The Chowder Cook-Off heats up at 11 a.m with VIPs getting early advantage to the chowder tents to taste and view competitors' decorative booths at 10 a.m. VIPs also receive an official Taster's T Shirt, and access to Bud Lite Big Screen Beer Garden. Great chowder is accompanied by great live music, the lineup scheduled to perform on Sunday are: Ted Hammock and Jason Booth, The Pickles and The Impulsives. Attendees can cheer on the winners at closing ceremonies at approximately 4pm.
Parking is always free, and there is plenty of options to help get you to and from the festival grounds. The Chowderfest Express www.lbiferry.com is running both days. For Sunday, take the free Chowder Shuttle and park along stops at 42nd Street, 68th Street and 95th Street .Tickets on sale for Oct 6 at www.chowderfest.com or the Southern Ocean County Chamber. Toddlers under 3 are free, Children to age 12 $10, General Admission $30, VIP $65 .