Now in its 32nd year, the Montauk Annual Fall Festival will celebrate the season over Columbus Day weekend. The two-day event, sponsored by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, will take place on the green in the center of town, featuring its usual array of entertainment—including the ever-popular clam chowder contest—as well as a new transportation option courtesy of the Hampton Jitney.
“We’re looking forward to a really terrific festival,” says Laraine Creegan, the executive director of the Chamber. “We will of course have all the favorite things about the festival that people have come to look forward to, as well as some new events to discover.”
Held on Saturday and Sunday, the festival will feature an array of programs, live music and autumn treats.
Events for kids over the two days include a carousel, inflatable rides, crab races and face painting. Pony rides will be held on Saturday, and there will be street painting on Sunday.
In addition, enjoy the East End fall harvest at the Montauk Famers Market, which will be open on Saturday and Sunday during the festival.
Perhaps the most popular of the foodie events, however, is the famous Clam Chowder Contest, to be held on Saturday. Various Montauk restaurants will compete for best clam chowder in both the New England and Manhattan categories.
“We anticipate 25 to 30 restaurants will be competing this year,” says Creegan. “There will be some new contenders, as more restaurants stay open past Labor Day out here.”
Live entertainment will also be featured the festival, including music by the Blue Collar Band from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday. “Another highlight is our Grucci Fireworks display on Saturday night,” said Creegan. The show will light up the sky above Umbrella Beach beginning at 7 p.m.
The festivities continue on Sunday with the annual auction at the Montauk Playhouse. The 3 B’s will perform from noon to 3 p.m. At 4:30 p.m., the Chamber will host their Cash Catch drawing, where cash prizes of up to $20,000 will be awarded.
As Columbus Day on the East End becomes a popular tourism weekend, many of the various villages and hamlets offer activities over the three-day period. To facilitate inter-town transport, the Montauk festival has partnered with Hampton Jitney to provide rides to The End.
“New to the Festival this year is our alliance with the Hampton Jitney, which will provide free transportation from Southampton to Montauk and in between,” says Creegan. “There will also be a continuous shuttle loop from town to the Lighthouse to the harbor to the LIRR, so you can just leave your car at the Jitney stop for free elsewhere in the Hamptons and not worry about parking or traffic.”
The transportation will ease traffic and parking issues, as the number of people attending the event grows. “We are expecting close to 30,000 people to attend this year, up from last year,” says Creegan.
For more information on the festival, visit montaukchamber.com.