Seafood Fest

While I’ve been hibernating this month, I’ve been thinking a lot about what seasonal tourism workers do in the offseason, and about buildings that are boarded up for months. 

There are lots of destinations where the offseason is my preferred time to visit. Greek islands are incredible summertime hotspots, but they’re also flooded with fellow tourists. In the offseason it’s chillier, but nice and quiet, and those who make their living catering to tourists have the time to share their attention with you. You won’t be working on your tan, but you have the chance for a more immersive cultural experience. But what do I know.

Which brings me to Hampton Beach in Hampton, NH. Currently in January the main drag called “The Strip” is dead. The arcade, the waterslides, and the fried dough stand are all closed. The guy who has made his career drawing caricatures is …elsewhere. Everything is currently boarded up. Not so during summertime. 

At the tail end of the summer people travel from ALL over to Hampton Beach for the annual Seafood Fest. You can walk through tent after tent with wall to wall seafood vendors. You can also dress up as a crustacean, and you won’t be the only one!

But the crown jewel of the day is the lobster eating contest, or what many people refer to as “a huge waste of lobster meat”. 

It’s a thing. Folks (okay, mostly guys who look 7 months pregnant) from all over the North East enter the contest. They play the national anthem before it begins. I repeat, they play. the. national. anthem! before it begins. As if this were a legit professional sporting event. And the winner is presented their prize by the local beauty queen and the Governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, who’s a real turd of a public servant if you ask me. 

I don’t know that I’ll be in attendance at the next Seafood Fest, but I do now know that the secret to an amazing hot lobster roll is to add sherry to the butter. A total game changer! 

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