Bring your appetite. The annual Chowderfest takes place on Long Beach Island Saturday and Sunday.

Chowderfest 2013
Chowderfest 2013
(Courtesy: Southern Ocean Co. Chamber)

Lori A. Pepenella, Destination Marketing & Communications Director of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, said they're excited for the 27th year, pointing out the two-day event attracts tens of thousands of visitors, giving the economy a boost.

"It means so much to the economy. It generates an estimated over $3 million for the weekend with lodging, with restaurants, with merchants' retail sales," said Pepenella.

Saturday features a Merchants Mart with free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. rain or shine, and the Chowderfest Cook off Classic on Sunday, showcasing 20 restaurants competing for the people's votes for the best red and white chowder and a new category for creative seafood, according to Pepenella. She added another new element this year, due to popular demand, separate wagons for beer and cider on tap. A concert will be held each day as well.

VIP ticket holders can enter at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Gates open at 11 a.m. for General Admission on Sunday.

Pepenella pointed out the Chowderfest Cook off is always at capacity, at about 14,000 ticketed people inside the gate, with thousands of others coming and going to the Merchants Mart.

"It's just a great way to officially end summer," said Pepenlla. She noted the traffic lights on LBI go dark on the Monday following the event, "And then it's officially the Fall season."

The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce uses ticket sale proceeds from Chowderfest to operate a year-round visitors center, fund a tourism campaign, sponsor events and fundraisers, and scholarships for three different high schools, according to Pepenella.

"This is something that brings out the entire community. We have hundreds of volunteers that work to make this happen because they know how important it is, the impact of this event to local businesses," added Pepenella.

For more information on the event, go to

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