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Three decades of the premiere food festival has made Long Beach Island the “Chowder Capital” of the Jersey Shore. An anniversary party is being planned to welcome old friends and introduce new chowder connoisseurs to this one of a kind event

Certain things need to be celebrated in a big way; Chowderfest turning 30 is definitely one of them. A community milestone unique to Long Beach Island, that has gained the affection of thousands of Chowderheads has been breaking records and raising the bar for food competitions since the 1980’s. Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce recognizes and thanks the exceptional chefs and the restaurants who have served up countless gallons of their signature soup to compete for the coveted popular vote.

The anniversary weekend kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 29 with a free Merchant Marketplace. Dozens of chamber members will be offering end-of-season bargains, local specialties and gourmet food. Live music from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. featuring a popular line up of local bands. Children’s entertainment will include hands on crafts and a command performance of Crunchy the T-Rex. For the adults, a select variety beers on tap and hard ciders 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. First ever wine by the glass and spritzers will be provided by Barefoot Wines. Last year’s expansion of the Chowderfest grounds proved popular providing with more seating, extra room under the tents and by the stage. The musical line up for Saturday begins with Garage Kept, 40 North and closing with the Jimmy Brogan Band performing.

The Chowder Cook-Off Classic heats up on Sunday, September 30 at 11 a.m. as favorite restaurants 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. New England or White chowder competitors Country Kettle, Chicken or the Egg, Howard’s, Tucker’s Tavern, Wally’s and Polly’s Dock. Manhattan or Red competitors include Lefty’s Tavern, Buckalew’s, Stefano’s, Ocean County College Hospitality Program, Bistro 14 and Black Whale Bar & Fish House. Creative Category which is seafood inspired offerings include: Delaware Ave Oyster House, La Bamba, Sunny Rae’s , The Woo Hoo, Blue Water Café, Cuisine on the Green and the first international competitor Nancy’s Barn of Ballyliffen Ireland. VIPs also receive access to Bud Lite Big Screen Bar with dedicated food and beverage service. Children’s activities will also be available throughout out the day with crowd pleasing live music featuring Ted Hammock and Jason Booth, The Pickles and The Impulsives. Winners will be announced at closing ceremonies, which are scheduled for 4 p.m. Though Saturday is a free event, Sunday’s Cook off Classic is a ticketed event. Tickets can be purchased 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 info@sochamber.com. Toddlers under the age of three get free admission. Tickets for the Cook-Off cost: Children to age 4 to 12 – $10, General Admission – $30, VIP – $65 VIPs get early access to the Chowder Cook-Off Classic and an official 2018 Taster T Shirt.

Proceeds earned from Chowderfest Weekend have gone to providing decades of financial support to hundreds of local charities and events, as well as scholarships to Pinelands Regional, Southern Regional and Barnegat high schools. In honor of the 30th, last year’s restaurants voted for a qualifying non profit to be the Chowder for A Cause Charity to benefit from net proceeds of 2018 event. David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation was selected and will be partnering throughout the anniversary year. Make the most of your weekend by attending Friday night’ s Shellfish Soiree at Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts & Sciences on September 28. Why not head to the north of the island for a fantastic night celebrating locally provided shellfish, along with a variety of entertainment, great drinks and company. Tickets are on sale at www.lbif.org or by visiting them in Loveladies. Keep the party going Chowderfest Saturday night at September 29 8pm when Surflight Theatre presents The Best of Abba -Tribute Band ” Dancing Dream” -go back to the days of disco when Swedish pop group Abba ruled the world with their memorable songs and performances. Tickets are on sale at surflight.org or and at their Beach Haven Box Office. A special thank you to the sponsors of 2018 Chowderfest including:
Sysco, Barefoot , The Sandpaper/Beachcomber, Bud Light, Ritchie and Page, AtlantiCare, Atlantic States Group, Panzone’s, G Anderson Agency, Hackensack Meridian Health, Manahawkin Kia, Manahawkin Chrysler Dodge Jeep DiFeo Group Ocean County Board of Freeholders, Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce and NJ Division of Travel and Tourism.