Lobsterfest is back!
Event returns to Bradley Beach this weekend
BRADLEY BEACH — The Sixth Annual Bradley Beach Lobsterfest will be returning to the borough’s beachfront this weekend, much to the delight of seafood lovers of all ages, and to the panic of lobsters across the Jersey Shore.
The two-day event is one of the most popular summertime events to take place on the Jersey Shore, and is the largest annual fundraiser presented by the Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce throughout the year. During last year’s festival, attendance reached around 30,000 patrons.
The chamber of commerce hopes that this year will be the most successful Lobsterfest yet.
Beautiful weather is anticipated over the course of the festival, which takes place on July 12 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and July 13 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Passion Group, Asbury Park, has been involved with Lobsterfest since its launch, and is once again covering the festival’s production and marketing for the chamber of commerce.
“Since the beginning, we [The Passion Group] have been the logistics company that has helped the Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce with all of the vendors, permitting, marketing and more for Lobsterfest,” said Mike Hollemans, director of logistics for the Passion Group. “We do everything from the promotions, press releases and radio station events.”
The Passion Group helped to arrange this year’s sponsors, which include World Volkswagen, Coors Light, Barefoot Wine, GEICO and UTZ Quality Foods Inc.
“This is something that we have built from nothing, and it’s pretty awesome to watch it grow,” Mr. Hollemans said.
Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce President Brenda Connolly, who has held her position since January 2013, has promised a wide variety of food options, live entertainment and rides that are perfect for guests of all ages.
A VAST ARRAY OF FOOD & VENDORS
This year’s event will boast over 25 food vendors, 150 craft and specialty tables, programs geared toward the younger crowd, live bands, a wine and beer garden, and a large dining area.
“Vendor tables will include everything from local organizations such as the chamber of commerce, the Bradley Beach Fire Department, and other Bradley Beach local municipalities, to merchants,” Mr. Hollemans said.
Some popular tables will include air brush tattoos, jewelry, clothing and art merchants.
Lobsterfest patrons can expect the same fresh, local and delicious food that they have come to expect from the event over the last six years.
According to Mr. Hollemans, some Lobsterfest fan favorites will be returning this year including Jake’s Crab Shack, Belmar; Jersey Shore BBQ, Belmar; Giamano’s Restaurant, Bradley Beach; Gaetano’s Restaurant, Red Bank; Mr. Shrimp, Belmar; Point Lobster Company, Point Pleasant Beach; Ragin Cajun, Belmar; Tiger’s Tale Bar & Grill, Princeton; The Lusty Lobster, Highlands, and more.
There will also be an exciting children’s play area, which, according to Ms. Connolly, will be similar to last year’s setup.
“The plan works, and we have been successful with it,” she said.
Children are sure to have a blast sliding down an inflatable water slide, getting their faces painted by professional artists, designing their own sand art, jumping in bouncy houses, and twirling on a tilt-a-whirl mechanical ride.
ROCK LOBSTER... FEST
An impressive lineup of seven bands from the Jersey Shore area are expected to be one of many highlights of Lobsterfest. DJ Funsize is slated to return as host and emcee of the festival on Saturday and Sunday.
“We love live music and we love having the bands on the boardwalk. We are excited about every band,” Mrs. Connolly said.
According to Mrs. Connolly, the Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce that “after years of scheduling and booking conflicts,” it was able to sign Pat Roddy Band to perform as the headlining musical act on Sunday.
“He is the local band we all go see, so he is just very, very popular in these beach towns. He is an excellent musician and it’s a great band,” Mrs. Connolly said.
Mr. Roddy, who just released his latest album “Shed my Skin,” is a singer/songwriter who was born and raised in Belmar.
“Pat Roddy [Band] has always been a favorite of the chamber; we look forward to bringing his talent to our beachfront for everyone to enjoy,” said Shirley Ayres, executive director of the chamber.
Local favorite and Lobsterfest regular Random Test will be playing the festival for the sixth year, and is expected to headline Saturday’s performances.
Another Lobsterfest favorite, Jo Wymer, will be returning for her third year at the festival. Ms. Wymer is a Grammy-nominated musician, specializing in Americana, blues and rock music.
The chamber is also excited to announce that Bobby Mahoney & the Seventh Son will be making the band’s first appearance at the festival. In 2013, the band was nominated for the “Top Young Band” award at the Asbury Park Music Awards.
TIPPING FOR A CAUSE
In the dining area, patrons 21-and-over can enjoy ice-cold beer and wine which, for the first time, will be poured by volunteers from the Ladies Auxiliary of the Bradley Beach Fire Department and the Bradley Beach First Aid Squad.
All of the tip money earned over the weekend will go directly to aiding the organizations’ needs.
“The dining area has always [been] popular at the Lobsterfest, with seating for nearly 500 and ice-cold Coors Light Silver Bullet cans as well as assorted Barefoot Wine served from tented bars at each end,” Ms. Connolly said.
Ms. Connolly is enthused that more fundraising opportunities will be available during this year’s festival.
“We are so happy that there is another venue from this for fundraising, and we are so happy that it’s the ladies auxiliary and the first aid squad that’s doing it,” Ms. Connolly said.
Ms. Connolly’s excitement was shared by Ladies Auxiliary President Beth Cotler, who has been part of the organization for the past decade and has acted as president for the last four years. She said that all the proceeds raised during the event will go to the auxiliary’s purchasing of a new bus.
“We are trying to raise money because we still need a bus and lots of supplies, and as always, help in supporting our fire company and first responders,” Mrs. Cotler said. “The bus would let us go to fires, and it would be a place where we can store our equipment, and we can cook food and heat up drinks from it. We take care of all the first responders.”
According to Mrs. Cotler, the ladies auxiliary is currently utilizing a “terribly old” bus that dates back to 1970. The ladies are looking to purchase a small, more modern, minivan bus.
“We would love to have one with a hydraulic lift for our generator because it’s very, very heavy,” she said.
Representatives from the Wanamassa Ladies Auxiliary and the Shark River Hills Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary will be there to help and support Mrs. Cotler and other volunteers from the Bradley Beach Ladies Auxiliary.
“We are grateful for their help and we would do the same for them. We love working together,” Mrs. Cotler said.
Mrs. Cotler said the fundraising initiative will be a “team effort,” which the ladies auxiliary will share with the first aid squad.
Bradley Beach First Aid Squad President Eric Hunter, who has been on the squad for the last 34 years, said the funds earned over the weekend will aid in the structural renovations of the first aid squad building, located at 725 Main St.
“We’re expecting a good turnout, and I think its going to be a beautiful weekend,” Mr. Hunter said.
Mrs. Cotler said the ladies auxiliary and the first aid squad rely on community support.
“We want everybody to have a fun and safe weekend, and to come support the ladies auxiliary and the first aid squad,” Mrs. Cotler said.