Hampton Beach, NH, Seafood Festival Ready for Its 33rd Year
The forecast should be perfect for the 33rd annual Hampton Seafood Festival, which starts Friday and goes through Sunday.
Three days of food served up by over 50 of the Seacoast's top restaurants and nearly 80 craft vendors, culinary chef demonstrations, and two stages of entertainment gets started Friday at noon and continue through Sunday.
There's a sold out cornhole tournament Saturday with fireworks at night, and a road race with 1,000 runners and a lobster roll eating contest on Sunday.
"It's constant music, constant entertainment, constant eating, constant shopping, which draws 60,000 to 80,000 people from not only New Hampshire but all of New England," Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce President John Nyhan told Seacoast Current.
Skies will be sunny and temperatures in the 80s, with a light breeze all weekend.
Visitors From All Over
Nyhan could safely add "and beyond," as online sales of wrist bands allow the Chamber to see where geographically they were purchased.
"We're finding that people are coming from Tennessee, from North Carolina, Pennsylvania. They're all coming up here for the Seafood Festival," Nyhan said.
Two years after the festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nyhan said that vendors were told to plan for an increase in the number of visitors over 2021.
"Even though we were successful last year, we still had people a little hesitant to come to the festival. We're hearing now that everything is back to normal," Nyhan said.
Nyhan said that one sign of normalcy is the number of bus tours booked for the festival.
"Last year, we only had six bus tours come to the festival. This year we have twelve. To us, that's an indicator that more and more people now are wanting to get out and enjoy an outside open air festival. We're excited about that," Nyhan said.
Nyhan said attendees will find some changes at this year's festival, including new restaurants joining longtime participants offering non-seafood dishes to expand the food options. There's also the beach bar, which the Chamber has proclaimed to be the largest in New England.
An art show that was added in 2021 is returning with more local artists painting murals throughout the weekend along the beach.
Nyhan said there will be a lot more open space at the festival.
"We've done away with all the major tents that people get jammed into to go from one food vendor to another, to where it's now wide open. We offer the same amount of space to our food vendors, but it's a lot easier to get in line to each food vendor and you're not bumping into people," Nyhan said.