In reversal, borough says that Lobsterfest is now cancelled

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BRADLEY BEACH — There will be no Lobsterfest here this year. The event, planned for June 23-24, is now off, the borough announced Wednesday.

Mayor Gary Engelstad said the borough was pulling back from an eleventh hour rescue that would have had it replace the Chamber of Commerce as partner to the Passion Group, which runs the event every year.

The hastily assembled arrangement had been approved by the borough council Tuesday night. It followed a special meeting on June 6 that had left Lobsterfest 2018 in distress as the Chamber of Commerce Chamber of Commerce failed to get the borough council’s authorization to present the event. At issue were questions raised about chamber compliance with certain state requirements as well as its status as a viable charitable organization under federal Internal Revenue Service [IRS] criteria.

On Friday, saying, “We’re stepping in,” Mayor Engelstad announced that the festival would go forward with the borough taking over the role that had been played by the chamber.

By Wednesday, however, second thoughts prevailed, the mayor said. Borough officials decided they did not want rush into an arrangement they might later regret.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t pull it off,” Mayor Engelstad said.

“The real losers are the many thousands of folks who come … along with the charitable organizations involved,” he said.

On the other hand, he added, “I’m sure there’s a lot of residents who won’t be heartbroken to see it gone.”

The annual event has always brought big crowds to Bradley Beach, but not necessarily to the pleasure of borough residents, many of whom felt it deprived them of a prime summer weekend on the beach and boardwalk.

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.