Seafood festival that shut down Belmar last year begins Friday

    (Creative Commons image)

    (Creative Commons image)

    Sometimes a good problem quickly becomes bad. 

    That’s what happened last year when Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty shut down the 1.6-square-mile Monmouth County borough for four hours on the final day of the annual New Jersey Seafood Festival.

    Doherty decided to close all incoming routes to the coastal community due to an overwhelming crowd. Around 200,000 people attended the three day event last June. 

    Last year’s festival, coupled with terrific beach weather, created a “perfect storm of good things” that inflated the town’s population beyond manageable levels, Doherty said.

    “Our small town can only accommodate so many cars on our roads,” Doherty told NJ.com last year. “We were at capacity.”

    Last December, the borough’s council decided to move the festival to May 14 and May 15, with an unadvertised night on May 13. The council also eliminated a fireworks display and told its tourism director to curtail marketing of the event.

    Doherty hopes the changes will reduce crowds at this year’s festival, which begins Friday. 

    The festival, in its 30th year, will be at Silver Lake Park (5th and Ocean avenues), beginning with “locals night” on Friday. The festival is open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday. 

    The festival website cites “exciting new activities and attractions for the whole family – live music, wine and craft beer tent, contests, kids’ activities, and of course the tastiest seafood around!”

    Click here for more information. 

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    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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