The Start of Summer Food Festivals

Plus: Where to celebrate Dad on Father's Day.

Every restaurant celebrates Mother’s Day, right? Well, with Father’s Day traditionally thought of as the day to honor Dad with a grillfest in the backyard, it’s no wonder far fewer restaurants set out special menus for the day—which is, in case you haven’t checked a calendar in a few months, this Sunday, June 17.

One noteworthy exception to the tradition is 100 Steps, 215 Centennial Avenue in Cranford, where a Father’s Day special of braised short ribs and corn pudding is being offered on June 17. There is, as usual, the raw bar on tap at this BYO. For reservations and more information, call 908-276-0153 or visit www.100stepsrawbar.com.

For dads who love craft beer, head to the 9th annual New Jersey Beer & Food Festival, taking place June 15-17 at Crystal Springs Resort. Three days of festivities include pop-up beer tastings, a golf tournament, Father’s Day Brunch and the signature Beer Festival grand tasting with over 200 beers, open-fire cooked meats, live music and more. On Father’s Day, dads can head to the Brews Brunch in the Chef’s Garden, which offers a unique “garden-to-table” al fresco dining experience. Guests will enjoy family style dishes paired with beers from Great Lakes Brewing. Two seatings are available at 10AM and 12:30PM. The menu with beer pairings is $39 for Adults (tax & gratuity additional), food menu is $19 for kids 11 & under.

Meanwhile, with summer kicking into high gear next week, there’s a plethora of food-centric events in the Garden State. Highlights include:

* The 35th annual Blueberry Festival at Whitesbog: Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24 from 10 am to 4 pm each day. In the heart of the Pine Barrens is this beloved festival that showcases one of New Jersey’s top crops in many culinary preparations. And, on top of it all, the festival offers a blueberry pie-eating contest. Sponsored by the Whitesbog Preservation Trust,  entrance to the festival is at 799 Lakehurst Road in Browns Mills. Admission is $5 per carload, a reduced price from last year, organizers say. For more information, call 609-893-4646 or visit www.whitesbog.org.

* The 26th annual Baymen’s Seafood & Music Festival: Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24 from 11 am to 5 pm each day. Sponsored by, and held at, the Tuckerton Seaport, 120 West Main Street in Tuckerton, this festival is putting clams in the spotlight this year, but also will feature other shellfish and local fishes and offer a beer court. There will be fishing demonstrations as well. General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Seaport members and kids under 5 will be admitted free of charge. Information: 609-296-8868; www.tuckertonseaport.org.

* Sea Isle City Food Truck Festival: Friday, June 22 from 4 to 9 pm; Saturday, June 23 from noon to 9 pm; Sunday, June 24 from noon to 5 pm. Now ubiquitous throughout New Jersey, food truck festivals take place in cities, Shore towns and suburbans townships. This municipally run event features a couple dozen food trucks and takes place at Kin McNutley’s, 63rd and Landis Avenue in Sea Isle City. Admission is free; pay as you eat. Information: 609-318-4504; www.visitsicnj.com.

* Somerville Craft Beer Festival: Saturday, June 23 from noon to 9 pm and Sunday, June 24 from noon to 7 pm. Presented by Tapastre and Project PUB, the festival takes place along North Bridge Street between Main and High streets in Somerville. Admission to the festival, which includes a beer mug, is $10 in advance through Eventbrite or $15 at the door. Beer, which is purchased in sample or full-pour sizes, must be paid for in cash as no credit cards will be accepted. For more information visit www.beerfests.com.

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