If you are looking for something to do this fall, plan on Chowderfest in Long Beach Island! Chowderfest is a favorite LBI tradition that pairs a huge cooking contest with live music, crafters, and shopping. Join with the locals to wrap up the season every October!
Details for Chowderfest in Long Beach Island
Wrapping up the 2017 season, the Chowderfest food festival is expected to draw the biggest crowds in event history! Rain or shine, the event is scheduled to kick off on September 30th from 10 am to 5 pm with the Merchant Mart. The main event is held on the second day of Chowderfest, which will be held on October 1st. While you are not charged admission to enter the festival grounds, the Chowder Cook-Off is a ticketed portion of the event. Ticket prices range from $50 for VIP, $25 for General Admission, and $10 for children ages 4-12 years.
Chowderfest in Long Beach Island is an annual celebration for family and friends that marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. It is usually held on the weekend before Columbus Day. This event draws huge crowds from all over the country but is especially popular among locals and visitors from the tri-state area.
At the Merchant Mart on Day One of the festival, local vendors display and sell their wares at places like MakeShift Row, sponsored by the MakeShift Union. On Day Two, the Chowderfest main event features restaurants competing for the title of “Best Chowder.” Taste-testers sample chowders and vote to determine the region’s best seafood soup.
In addition to great food, Chowderfest in Long Beach Island is also host to live musical entertainment making it one of the Island’s most popular annual events. It’s a great chance to hear some great local bands and artists performing in the open air. (If you can’t make it to Chowderfest, you can still enjoy great food and live music all summer at Sand Dollar Restaurant on the beachfront!)
A Brief History of Chowderfest on Long Beach Island
The first recorded Long Beach Island Chowderfest was in 1989. Since then, it has become a yearly event that has grown in size and success. It’s evolved from the small local chowder competition it once to become a gigantic food and music festival attracting restaurants and attendees from all over the country. Virtually all of the local LBI seafood restaurants have participated in the chowder competition at some point, and the best ones come back every year.
Chowderfest is one of New Jersey’s biggest food festivals, if not THE biggest. The event was forced to skip a year, in October 2015, when heavy flooding forced organizers to reschedule and then eventually opted to cancel the event. However, Chowderfest came back with a vengeance the following year with nearly 15,000 guests.
2016 Chowderfest Champions Winners Circle
The Chowderfest judging is broken into four categories: New England Chowder (White Chowder), Manhattan Chowder (Red Chowder), Creative, and Best Booth.
Here’s a list of the winning restaurants from last year:
Category: New England Chowder
- Grand Prize White: Chicken or the Egg
- 1st Runner Up White: Howard’s Restaurant
- 2nd Runner Up White: Country Kettle Chowda
- 3rd Runner Up White: Mud City Crab House Seafood Grill & Market
Category: Manhattan Chowder
- Grand Prize Red: Stefano’s Restaurant
- 1st Runner Up Red: Lefty’s Tavern
- 2nd Runner Up Red: Black Whale Bar & Fish House
- 3rd Runner Up Red: Shore Fire Grille
- Grand Prize: Blue Water Cafe
- 1st Runner up: Buckalew’s Restaurant & Tavern
- 2nd Runner up: La Bamba Mexican Restaurant
- 3rd Runner up: Cuisine on the Green at Atlantis
Category: Best Booth Winners
- Best Interpretation of the Theme: Country Kettle Chowda
- Best Shore Motif: Black Whale Bar & Fish House
- Most Enthusiastic: Chicken or the Egg
- Most Creative: Mud City Crab House Seafood Grill & Market
Great Memories Chowderfest on LBI
Over the years, many visitors have attended Chowderfest in Long Beach Island and have publicly shared their experiences online. These are plenty more reviews on the Chowderfest Facebook Page and on the official website.
Below, you can read through a handful of the dazzling reviews posted by recent visitors who are probably looking forward to attending Chowderfest again this year.
Here’s a look at what past attendees have said about Chowderfest on LBI!
Terry P. said, “Another fun year in the books!! Even the weather didn’t slow it down.”
Jill B. remarked, “Another great year at LBI Chowderfest. Excellent Chowder.”
Sara M. commented, “Great time- Love everything about the LBI Chowderfest.”
Claudia P. mentioned, “Love it! Thanks for the information and the pictures. Always brings back all the great memories and warm feeling of being in LBI. Priceless!!!!!”
Kirk M. said, “I’ve been going to Chowderfest since the beginning. My family and I have an awesome time each year. Great way to end the summer.”
Ann S. remarked, “Always a fun time at a great tradition! Glad the weather wasn’t too bad”
Nora E. said, “Even though Mother Nature did not cooperate it was still an excellent time. I love the enthusiasm of all the participants and of course the amazing chowder!! Great time as always!!!”
Don’t Miss Out on Chowderfest 2017!
Clear your calendar for September 30 & October 1st and make sure you build up an appetite before you go! Prepare to indulge in all you can eat chowder, craft beers, live music, clearance sales on merchandise, and great company. It’s a fun time to be had and you’ll probably want to make this an annual tradition of your own. When in LBI, do as the locals do and have some chowder!