The Atlantic City Seafood Festival has been around for years in one form or another, but I’ve never had a chance to go until this year. And even though it was raining, and I mean it was a torrential downpour, I braved the weather to meet up with my equally brave friends for the Festival!
When is it?
Recently, it’s been held during National Hunger Action Month and this year the dates were September 8 and 9. The Festival supports a good cause - the Community Food Bank of New Jersey - by donating a portion of the festival proceeds to it.
Where is it?
Atlantic City, New Jersey, of course! But more specifically, at Bader Field, a disused airport. Actually, Bader Field is a bit more than that. Here are some cool facts:
Opened in 1910, it was the first U.S. municipal airport and could handle both seaplanes and regular airplanes.
The term "air-port" was used for the first time by Robert Woodhouse in reference to Bader Field.
“Airport” referred to the "Flying Limousines", which was a seaplane passenger service between Atlantic City and New York.
Why’s it called Bader Field? After the former mayor of Atlantic City, New Jersey Edward L. Bader – the guy who bought the land for the airfield.
Bader Field was the original location of the Civil Air Patrol in 1941.
It closed for good in 2006 and a minor league baseball stadium was built on the site (the baseball team disbanded and the stadium is closed now, too). There’s also an ice rink.
Today, it’s used for concerts, car shows, triathlons and other events, like…the Atlantic City Seafood Festival!
Personal cool fact: Back in the day, there used to be tennis courts at the end of the runway. Sometimes, you’d have to stop play if the planes were really low taking off and landing.
Back to the festival….
What'd we eat?
According to its website, there were 40 vendors, including restaurants, bakeries, and beers. Some were set up in tents and others in food trucks. While we didn’t hit all 40, each of us chose something different. I had fish tacos from Jay's Crab Shack in Ocean City, NJ, and my friends had fried oysters, a shrimp po’ boy with broccoli rabe and tuna tacos. We shared some of our food finds and everything was great. There was even a cannoli truck from Olde World Cannoli set up so one of my friends bought a bunch – you know who you are!
My squad and I mostly hung out in the Great Beers of NJ Tasting Tent! Where, for $10, you can buy 10 tickets for 10 tastings. We bought 20 tickets and split the tastings between four people. You get a little plastic mug to refill as you make your way to each vendor. There were tons of craft beers and novelty brews and we tried our level best to sample most of them. The best thing about all of the rain is that we got extra big pours on the beer samples!
What else there to do?
There are chowder cook offs, a crab eating contest, a pet costume contest (that benefits the Humane Society), kids’ activities, sand sculpting, wood carving (with chainsaws) live music and amusements! Of course, with all the rain, we just hung out in the beer tent for the most part!
Despite the rain, we had a great time! So, keep the Atlantic City Seafood Festival in mind for next year!
Have you been to the Festival? Tell me about it on Facebook or in Traveleidoscope's comment section!