So the calendar says September, and the summer tourists have all gone home, making it a little bit easier for the locals to navigate the roads and enjoy some beach time while there is still some decent weather to be had. And while you enjoy zipping around the traffic-reduced highways and byways (legally, of course – we at JerseyBites do not advocate speeding), here are some food events to point your car in the direction of this month:
Island Beach State Park is a wonderful place to enjoy the sun, sand and sea during the summer. It is also the location for the annual Beach Plum Festival, which will take place on September 12. Ever want to make jelly out of beach plums? Now you have your chance. And even if you don’t, there will be lots of other activities in which to participate.
Seafood lovers from far and wide make their way to Point Pleasant Beach every September for the annual Festival of the Sea. This year the event will take place on September 18, and as always will feature local restaurants doing all things seafood – lobster, crab cakes, chowder…and even a few non-seafood items get slipped in for good measure. This festival is quite heavily attended (in the tens of thousands), so you might want to look into using the shuttle service that will be available.
Two things that the Greeks do as well as about any other ethnic group: they eat well, and they know how to have a good time. That is why Greek festivals are usually quite the treat. The Greek Festival at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Toms River, which will run from September 23 to 26, will be four days of great food, rides, music, dancing…all the fun stuff you could want in a festival. If you have never been to a Greek festival, you really need to experience this for yourself.
Listen up: forget those guys on ‘Jersey Shore’…how about some swine you can really enjoy! I am, of course, referring to barbecue that has been cooked low and slow by folks who know their way around a grill. The second annual Que By The Sea in Seaside Heights will take place from September 24 to 26, and it is not just fun and games. No sir – this is a serious competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society that will judge competitors on their chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. But the real winners here will be you, the tasting public.
Finally, we head back to Toms River on September 25 for their annual Pizza-Pasta-Pastry Italian Food Festival. As the name indicates, there will be plenty of pizza, pasta, and Italian pastries on hand for you to enjoy. Feeling a little competitive? Try your hand (and your mouth) at the pizza and pasta eating contests. Or maybe check out the pasta making demo. Or even try out for the US Pizza Team! The choice is yours, but always remember to take the cannoli.
John and Lisa Howard-Fusco Regional Editors, Ocean County. Although they and their two kids call Ocean County home, their John and Lisa Are Eating in South Jersey food blog has them traveling all over the southern region of New Jersey. They and their blog have been mentioned in articles by the New York Times, Courier-Post, nj.com and njmonthly.com. Lisa has written articles and reviews for South Jersey magazine as well as for Ed Hitzel’s Restaurant Newsletter and Hitzel’s Restaurant Magazine. And John could use a Gaetano’s cheesesteak right about now.