Hampton Beach Seafood Festival History and Mission
"One of the Top 100 Events in North America"
. . . . American Bus Association
1988 -- 2007
The Hampton Beach Seafood Festival Celebrates 19 Years as a non-profit event sponsored by the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce.
In May of 1988 a small group of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce business owners and merchants assembled at the State Park on the southern tip of Hampton Beach to put on the 1st Annual Seafood Festival as a way to promote Hampton's local restaurants and offer samplings of their seafood specialties. While the weather did not cooperate and held crowds at bay, the spirit of the organizers was not dampened.
In 1990 the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival changed location & date to where it is presently held at the center of Hampton Beach, the weekend after Labor Day. The move necessitated the closing of Ocean Boulevard from H St. to the Memorial Statue and with it brought a dramatic impact to the Festival. With Ocean Boulevard closed to vehicular traffic, a safe and enjoyable seaside pedestrian promenade was formed.
The Hampton Beach Seafood Festival has evolved dramatically, and has been acclaimed as "One of the Top 100 Events in North America", by the American Bus Association in 1996, 2001, 2003, and most recently in 2006. Event attendance is now estimated as exceeding 150,000!
Festivities include: Over 50 of the Seacoast's top restaurants serving an abundance of mouthwatering seafood delicacies; 80 Arts & Crafts vendors promoting locally made products; hundreds of Ocean Boulevard merchants offering end-of-the-season Sidewalk Sales; a Kiddie Land with the region's most notable Celebrities in Children's Entertainment; continuous Culinary Chef Demonstrations produced by Pat Whitley; and two stages of continuous entertainment with 15 Bands and Orchestras. We've also planned two Main Events-- on Saturday, the United States Air Force band Afterburner will perform an inspiring patriotic medley leading up to our spectacular Fireworks display; and on Sunday spectators will view an amazing Sky Diving extravaganza.
First Student offers Free Parking and Shuttle service to the Festival at over 13 in-town satellite parking lots. The shuttle service has proved to be the fastest, safest, and most cost effective way to get to the Festival. With no cost and less aggravation, it has become the most popular way to attend and enjoy the festival for families and our volunteers. For those who want to park closer to the beach, Hampton Beach Trolleys offers free shuttle service from the State Park near the Seabrook Bridge.
Although the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival continues to grow and evolve; our mission remains the same. For the past 18 years, the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce and Seafood Festival Committee have helped put New Hampshire on the map as a vacation destination. The Hampton Beach Seafood Festival has a profound effect on seacoast businesses, our community, and the overall economy of the area. Restaurants, lodging, shops, and businesses in general depend on the Seafood Festival as the primary contributor to their bottom line. Many Chamber members say it is even bigger than the "4th of July" in sales volume! The Festival, held the weekend after Labor Day, is also instrumental in extending the summer season. Dozens of non-profit organizations also earn a major portion of their income through revenues earned at the Festival, allowing them to continue to support their causes that benefit the citizens of New Hampshire. The Seafood Festival is a win-win situation for everyone involved; our business people, the community, the town, the State of New Hampshire and for Tourism in general. But most of all, it is a fun-filled weekend in which all of our business colleagues, the community, 500 volunteers, and our friends pull together to put on a World Class Event!