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So Much to Sea!

For three days each year on the weekend after Labor Day, Ocean Boulevard in Hampton transforms into a huge showcase of fresh seafood, with options from more than 60 local restaurants, a lobster roll eating contest and culinary workshops highlighting the foodie side of the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival.

Dozens of artisan and craft vendors, live entertainment, beer tents, fireworks, skydiving demos, contests and more are also featured at the festival’s 28th year. It’s happening Friday, Sept. 8, through Sunday, Sept. 10.

For the main event, local restaurants will provide a variety of different seafoods, like lobster rolls, fish and chips, clams and various chowders, lobster bisque, seafood Newburg, and fish tacos and sandwiches. Some vendors, like the Tuscan Kitchen in Portsmouth, are joining the festivities for the very first time, while others like The Old Salt Restaurant at Lamie’s Inn in Hampton have been at the festival since the beginning.

“We go through literally thousands of cups of clam chowder and lobster stew for the festival,” said Joe Higgins, owner of The Old Salt. “We’ve tried different things over the years, like half-boiled lobsters, bacon wraps and scallops. For the past few years, we’ve done clam chowder and lobster stew in a cup and also in bread bowls.”

Other vendors will be bringing specialized desserts, like Spud’s Restaurant & Pub offering fried ice cream sundaes, and Simply Cannoli, who will have specialty cannolis and cappuccinos.

There are plenty of options for non-seafood-eaters as well, like chicken fingers, onion rings, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and more. Many of the restaurants also compete for bragging rights and several titles, like Best Fried Food, Best Chowder, Freshest Catch and others, determined by a panel of judges.

“There really is quite a variety,” said John Nyhan, chairman of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the festival. “Some vendors will bring back some of the foods that have been the most successful in the past and have won prizes, and others always like to bring something that’s totally new, so it’s a combination.”

Live performances will be held every hour on the hour on both the Main Stage and Beach Stage throughout the weekend, according to Nyhan. An opening ceremony featuring a ribbon-cutting by Gov. Chris Sununu will take place on the Main Stage on Friday at 6 p.m.
Returning features include the lobster roll eating contest, which will be held on the Main Stage beginning at 2 p.m., and local culinary demonstrations featuring more than a half dozen local restaurants, with hosts of the Wicked Bites television and radio shows.

Restaurants like The Old Salt, Colosseum in Salem, Lobster Q in Hampstead and Savory Square Bistro in Hampton will be participating on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A fireworks display on the beach will close out the festivities on Saturday at 8:15 p.m.
On Sunday at 5 p.m. there will be a skydiving demonstration courtesy of Skydive New England, a feature Nyhan said has always been a huge draw. Sixteen skydivers will jump from more than 14,000 feet high before landing in the center of Hampton Beach.

The festival has become a large draw for Hampton Beach, with new adjustments and endeavors made this year to make it even bigger than ever, according to Nyhan.

“Especially if we have good weather, we can see anywhere from 100,000 to 125,000 people walking the streets of Ocean Boulevard,” he said.

Ocean Boulevard will be closed to traffic for the duration of the festival, giving way to several dozen arts and craft vendors, merchant sidewalk sales, face-painting, train rides and a Kiddie Land with games for kids, in addition to all the food that will be for sale.

“The focus is all about running a top-notch event in the Seacoast area … with our vendors and our seafood,” Nyhan said.

The Fun Ramps up at Canobie Lake Park Weekends in September & October With A Country Music Festival and SCREEEMFEST!!!!

SALEM, NH – It may be back to school and off to work during the week, but Canobie Lake Park has your weekends covered with plenty of thrills and chills over the next two months. The Park is open Labor Day Weekend, Friday through Monday, when you can enjoy rides, games and the final performances of Canobie’s summer shows.

Then get ready for Canobie Lake Park’s new Country Music Festival to be held over two weekends, September 9-10 and September 16-17. In addition to Canobie rides, games and attractions, there will be live shows featuring tributes to the music of Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks and Shania Twain. Live bluegrass bands are also scheduled throughout each day. Bring your appetite and dig in at the Festival’s “Smokin’ BBQ,” featuring a variety of apple-wood smoked items including ribs, pulled pork and brisket, plus a selection of beer and wine.

Beginning September 9th, Canobie’s Petting Zoo is also open every Saturday and Sunday from 1PM to 5PM through October 22nd. Youngsters and their families can interact with a menagerie of gentle animals.

The fun continues each weekend through October with your favorite Canobie rides, games and more. On September 23rd, SCREEEMFEST adds its special brand of fear to all the fun after dark, haunting Canobie Lake Park each Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening through October 29th. And there’s plenty to “screeem” about, too.

There are five terrifying haunted houses open during SCREEEMFEST, including their newest haunt, The Culling.” You’ll also find roaming “monsters” and a monster parade throughout the park, Halloween-themed games and much more.

Canobie Lake Park is known for delivering quality live entertainment at no additional charge, and fall is no exception. Rock on with Canobie’s ROCKtoberfest event that features a different rock tribute band each weekend during Screeemfest on Canobie’s Midway Stage. As if that wasn’t enough, the “SwingShift SideShow” presents strange feats of physical daring that are truly not for the faint of heart. And the live show, “Tribute to Michael: Ghosts,” will thrill audiences the last three weekends in October.

One low admission price for Canobie’s fall events includes all haunted houses, operating rides, ROCKtoberfest, the petting zoo, all live entertainment and much more. For park hours, show schedules, directions, and more information, visit canobie.com.