Don’t Forget the Seafood Festivals!

A little crab told me…really!

I was just sitting here, pondering the next wave of fresh Jersey produce that’s coming our way, led by those plump and juicy blueberries…when suddenly there was this little pinch on my right ankle. Now it could have been our little girl, who has a propensity to pinch – but no! There was this little blue claw crab, looking a bit miffed. How does a crab look miffed you might ask? Well, trust me on this one – I was getting a crabby stink eye. Now that he had my attention, he handed me a note (crabs can write???). On the note, in fairly competent penmanship, was this simple message:

Hey Mr. Food Blog Pants, don’t forget to mention the seafood festivals! And Go Lakewood!

I read the note, gave a little chuckle, then an understanding nod to my new crustacean friend. And feeling a little better about things, he scooted away, with a happy little gait.

The encounter left me with so many questions, like where do crabs go to write, do they have trouble buying office supplies, and how do they follow the Lakewood Blue Claws games, via radio or online? But those will have to wait until another day. For now, it is my obligation to follow through and mention some of the seafood festivals that are indeed coming up.

If you’re up for a drive, this coming Saturday is the annual Delaware Bay Day Folklife and Seafood Festival at the Bayshore Discovery Project in Port Norris (Bivalve). The festivities start with a parade at 11AM that goes from Port Norris into Bivalve. And then it’s time to enjoy the seafood bounty of the bay area. You have a food court preparing cooked seafood dishes like a typical Down Jersey milk-based chowder, or you can go raw and enjoy oysters on the half shell. There will also be a shucking competition as well as crab races. Some area wineries will also be there for tasting. I love this event because there is such a lack of pretense here; it’s really all about the seafood and appreciation of the bay.

The following Saturday (6/18) will have the Cape May Harbor Fest as well as the Baymen’s Seafood & Music Festival at Tuckerton Seaport. The Harbor Fest runs from 10AM to 5PM and features not only seafood (as well as typical festival fare), but a beer garden as well. The Seafood & Music Festival features a number of seafood vendors to satisfy your need for raw or fried seafood, as well as gives you an opportunity to learn about some history – maybe even take a shucking class to get you ready for next year’s competition down in Bivalve. FYI – you do need to pay the regular admission to attend the Tuckerton Seaport festival.

Robin’s Nest Restaurant in Mount Holly gets into the spirit of things with their own annual Seafood Week from 6/21 to 6/25. They will be offering a 4-course meal for $35 a person.

On 6/25, it’s a relatively new festival that seems to be becoming a popular event: the Jazzy Scallop & Seafood Festival at Viking Village in Barnegat Light right under Old Barney himself. While I can’t say for sure how jazzy scallops are, they are tasty – and plenty will be served along with other seafood treats. There will also be a raw bar for clams and sushi. The jazzy part of the day will be provided by local jazz musicians. The event runs from 3PM to 6PM, and the cost is $30 a person on that day, $25 if you buy in advance.

As we move into July, more seafood lovin’ festivals will be a-comin’. The annual Merchants in Venice Seafood Festival on Asbury Avenue in Ocean City will be taking place on Friday 7/15 from 5PM to 9PM. The next day (7/16) is the Seafood Festival on Landis Avenue in Vineland, where they literally turn a portion of the great wide way of Landis Avenue into a beach. Towards the end of the month, be on the lookout for the Crab Fest at Lacey United Methodist Church in Forked River and the Cluck & Claw at Wenonah Lake.

In August, it is the annual Seafood Festival that is served up by St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Stone Harbor. They offer a special menu for lunch (12PM to 2PM) and dinner (4:30PM to 7PM). Make sure you place your order in plenty of time, because they do run out due to the popularity of this event.

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