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The 30th Annual Merchants' Mart and
Chowder Cookoff Classic

will be held on Sept. 29th and 30th, 2018

(Photos from Previous years)

The early birds get the chowder without the crowds!


There was barely anyone around at 10 a.m. - only the 400+ that had purchased the VIP tickets - but...

...once the gates opened to general admission at 11a.m., it got busy! This is the "red" tent, where 7 restaurants offered samples of their Manhattan Clam Chowder.

The crowd swarms in and around the white (New England) chowder tent. My personal favorite of the white chowders was by Stefano's California Grill and Pizza.

Bistro Bistro 14 served what I thought was the best red chowder.



Everyone got a red chip and a white chip, and after tasting all the chowders in each category, voted for their favorite.

And the winners......for red chowder, Bistro 14, Bay Village in Beach Haven! Here their chef poses for photos. Panzone's, also of Beach Haven, was the white chowder winner. Rookie of the Year was awarded to Sweet Jenny's of Barnegat!

"Bud trucks" were placed throughout the grounds; a commemorative mug with beer was available for $7 and refills were $4. A nice suprise was the "Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale" on tap - delish!



Hawkins Road got the crowd on their feet, especially when they sang Springsteen's "Rosalita"!

Earlier in the day, Bill Hastings and Cathy-Jay Hopkins exchanged vows on this stage, in front of thousands. What a reception they had!


This young man got lucky at the WJRZ - 100.1 booth - he picked the key that opened the Treasure Chest, and won a tee shirt! WJRZ staffers Richie and Tom congratulate the little fellow!


Members of The Crescent Shrine were out in force, creating balloon figures and applying wash-off tattoos for the kids. This great organization works diligently to raise funds for the 22 Shriners' Pediatric Hospitals located throughout North America. These hospitals provide specialized care for orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate. All services are provided at no charge, thanks to the Shriners' hard work.


Another worthwhile organization with a huge presence (appropriately) was "Reclam the Bay", which is dedicated to Barnegat Bay shellfish restoration. For a $10 donation, you received a clam-shaped chowder chowder cup holder, with some interesting facts printed on it, such as "The Barnegat Bay holds 60 billion gallons of water" (who measured it, I wonder?).

An interesting project for all ages is their "Clam Trail '07". If you enjoy exploring the coastal areas of Ocean County, check it out on their website! Earm points and win recognition and prizes! Remember, all you Chowder Heads - you need lots of clams for all that chowder!

Beach Haven is located on Long Beach Island in Ocean County NJ. "LBI" is a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Barnegat and Little Egg Harbor Bays. The above photo shows the a schooner where the "Lucy Evelyn", a beloved schooner that burned in 1972, once proudly stood. The Atlantic Ocean is in the background.

Schooner's Wharf, on Bay and Ninth, as taken from the Chowder Cookoff. Bay Village is to the right. Both spots feature many specialty shops as well as assorted restaurants and cafes. Great shopping!


Beach Haven, NJ is located in the southern portion of Long Beach Island, accessible via State Highway 72. From the Garden State Parkway take Exit 63 to Route 72 EAST.

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