Created in 1989 Chowderfest has been organized and ran by the Southern Ocean Chamber

The official LBI Chowderfest awards and history? Check out our hall of fame!

The 35th Chowderfest will NOT be happening in Beach Haven in 2024. Inaccurate reporting in an April 10 article has caused some concerns from members, the public, and nonprofits regarding the Southern Ocean County Chamber and our Chowderfest event. At the Borough of Beach Haven April 8 public meeting, there was a presentation made by the Hunger Foundation and Beach Haven Chamber.

The presentation was for an alternative event to Chowderfest presented as the Beach Haven Chowder Cook off, if approved by the Borough to take the place of Chowderfest during its traditional date and location in Beach Haven. This was presented as a new initiative happening in 2024, the town’s 150th Anniversary. 

The Southern Ocean Chamber board had ongoing conversations with the Borough and gave support for this Beach Haven focused showcase as it is in line with benefiting local businesses within their town.

The Southern Ocean County Chamber thanks the many who reached out with concerns that this new endeavor will cause harm to the 110 year business organization that has helped so many small businesses and groups throughout the entire region for many years. Since Chowderfest will not be taking place this year as was planned, adjustments to our budget will need to be made.

Chowderfest was established to underwrite our chamber as it provided business assistance and trusted consumer resources at no cost to the tax payer. In addition, the supporters of the chamber have always made the argument that Chowderfest was created to strengthen the shoulder season, not just for one town, but all of LBI and the mainland communities.

It is in that spirit that we would like to take this moment to thank all the dedicated volunteers, businesses, sponsors and of course Chowderheads who made this event a true community effort that funded generations of scholarships in the three local high schools, parades, fireworks, direct nonprofit assistance through grants and donations, underwriting free or low cost business/nonprofit programs, allowed for dedicated regional business and consumer support that remained fully operational during Super Storm Sandy, the pandemic as well as through recovery.

There certainly is potential for future partnerships with the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, but as the organizers of the Official LBI Chowderfest since its inception, there needs to be exploration on how 2024 and beyond will live up to expectations. 

There is a clear desire for a two day Chowderfest event, with the ticketholders looking for over a dozen competing restaurants, enhanced voting capacities; as well as positively impacting the town where it is being held. Once there is a cohesive understanding that the best possible version is attainable, the historic Chowderfest will be back.

To view the April 8 Beach Haven Chowder Cook Off Presentation see below.