Nothing brings people together like mouth-watering food and invigorating music. This past weekend celebrated just that — at the Highlands 22nd Annual Clam Fest. The Clam Festival is a four-day family friendly event featuring the freshest seafood, live entertainment, kiddie rides, games, contests, a beer and wine garden and some amazing vendors.
People came from all over New Jersey to enjoy the long weekend outside with friends and family. Although the weather was a little hot — and then a bit rainy — that didn’t stop the fun (or the feasting!) at all.
Clam Fest kicked off on August 4 at Huddy Park, where guests took advantage of the “Pay-One-Price Bracelet Night” deal, enjoying all of the rides for $30. As the sun started to set, the cheerful music from Red Bank’s beloved Brian Kirk and The Jirks kicked in. They took the stage at 7:00pm and played well into the night. And while the seafood is surely the star at the Clam Fest, the jam-packed lineup of bands was its own draw:
On Friday, The Moroccan Sheepherders took over entertaining duties, bring their brand of eclectic music to the fest. On Saturday, The Highlands Community Singers entertained the crowd by singing their hit, “Happy as a Clam,” which was oh-so-appropriate for a Clam Fest. The rest of the day saw the music stage filled with a rotating roster of acts, like The Phil Engel Band, The Josh Zuckerman Band, and The Jonzes. The music filled the air while patrons filled their stomachs with delicious food from places such as the Lusty Lobster, Chilango’s, and the Havana, just to name a few.
Although the day slowed day a bit when some rain passed overhead, that didn’t stop anyone from riding the rides, playing games, and trying their luck at the Super 50/50. If you headed toward the corner of Waterwitch and Bay Avenue, you would have “stumbled” into — or out of! — the massive beer and sangria garden. Brew lovers were greeted by a lovely man named Vinny who handed out bright green bracelets and directed them in the right direction: toward the adult beverages!
Sunday was the busiest day at the festival. If you’re a fan of clams, then entering yourself into the Clam Fest’s world-class clam-shucking competition was definitely on your to-do list. Dozens of patrons gathered in the park with their buckets filled to the brim with tasty, succulent clams that came right from our own shores, ready to do battle.
Arguably the cutest moment of the fest was when it was infiltrated by mermaids. That is, little baby mermaids who were a part of the Baby Costume Contest, with the ever-so-appropriate theme, “A Day at The Shore.” The night ended around 8 p.m. but not before we got to hear the wonderful sounds of Steel Rail Blues who closed the day and the weekend.
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Hero (Top) Feature Image: Jessica Thompson-Baeza
Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy: Jessica Thompson-Baeza