Countdown to Summer: Upcoming Food Events

Seafood, beer, Japanese variously featured in Belmar, Toms River, Morristown, Edgewater.

Two food-centric events will take place this prelude-to-summer weekend in the Jersey Shore environs.

Meaning: You don’t have to wait for Memorial Day Weekend to have fun in the beach counties.

First, the New Jersey Seafood Festival, hosted by Visit Belmar NJ, will take place in Belmar starting Friday, May 18, 4 pm to 8 pm. Headquarters for the festival is at 500 Ocean Avenue; shuttles run throughout the beach town all weekend, as the festival continues on Saturday, May 19,  11 am to 8 pm and Sunday, May 20, 11 am to 6 pm. Admission is free; visitors pay for food and drink directly to each vendor.

For more information: visitbelmarnj.com.

Next up, Toms River, the county seat of Ocean County, plays host to the New Jersey State Chili and Salsa Cook-Off on Saturday, May 19 from 11 am to 5 pm; headquarters for the cook-off is along Washington Street, the main drag of Toms River.

This, the 29th edition of the cook-off, features a People’s Choice competition, as well as food trucks and a beer and wine garden.

For more information, call 732-341-8738 or visit downtowntomsriver.com.

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Meanwhile, those who like to fish for their suppers should mark Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3 on their calendars. That’s Pequest Trout Hatchery’s Open House weekend.

The hatchery, 605 Pequest Road in Oxford, will host the open house each day from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission is free, and visitors can expect a mobile fishing tank stocked with large trout. In addition, children ages 4 to 16 can try their hand at fishing at a kids’ tank.

For more information, link to the event at njfishandwildlife.com.

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Blue Morel, 2 Whippany Road in Morristown, is hosting Ramstein Beer four-course dinner Thursday, May 17 starting at 7 pm. The cost is $69 per person. The dinner-tasting will be led by Greg Zaccardi, owner of High Point Brewing Co., Butler. For information and reservations, call 973-451-2619 or visit bluemorel.com.

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A Japanese Gourmet Fair will take place Friday, June 8 through Monday, June 18 at Mitsuwa, 595 River Road in Edgewater. Special foods, available for a limited time during the fair, will be in stock and vendors from Japan will be on hand to offer samples of select items. Mitsuwa is open daily from 9:30 am to 9 pm and its food court is open daily from 11 am to 8 pm. For information, call 201-941-9113 or visit mitsuwa.com.

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