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LBI Chowderfest Canceled Due To Possible Hurricane Conditions
For the first time in its 27-year history, Chowderfest weekend has been canceled due to the possible impacts of Hurricane Joaquin at the Jersey Shore. Early Thursday afternoon, the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce released the following statement: “In accordance to the State of Emergency issued by Governor Christie regarding the uncertainty of pending storm and for the safety of our Chowderfest guests, volunteers and first responders we cannot hold Chowderfest this weekend. Any decisions on next steps will not be made until all threats of this hurricane have been removed from our community. We wish everyone a safe week.”
As of Thursday morning, the chamber’s web page indicated the event was still happening. But Lori Pepenella, chamber marketing director, said Christie’s actions gave them no choice.
“It wouldn’t have been fair to bring in so many people into Beach Haven in this situation,” she said. “What’s most important this weekend is that emergency management and first responders do what they have to do to keep Beach Haven safe.”
Whether Chowderfest is rescheduled later in the month remains to be seen.
“We’ll have to get through this weekend first,” said Pepenella.
At the time of the chamber’s announcement, the track of the storm was uncertain. Some forecast models had it going inland into the Carolinas while others placed it well out to sea. But by the time Joaquin might get to the Jersey Shore, the area would have already been inundated by a stalled frontal boundary expected to drop several inches of rain Friday and Saturday. Flood watches were posted for the area from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon.
Nineteen establishments were set to compete in the main event – the Chowder Cook-Off planned on Sunday.
“This is terrible not to have Chowderfest,” said Beach Haven Mayor Nancy Taggart-Davis. “It’s a big weekend because besides the Cook-Off, there’s the Merchants Mart, and the fire company was going to house their new truck.”
She said a major concern was whether the numerous tents could withstand winds.
“There could be gusts around 45 mph,” Taggart-Davis said. “Those tents aren’t built to withstand winds more than 40. The chamber made the right move. You don’t want to put people in a potentially dangerous situation; safety is of utmost importance.”
Article courtesy of— Eric Englund
Photo by Ryan Morrill
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