October in Montauk brings the annual fall festival, which will happen this year on Saturday, October 11, and Sunday, October 12, on the green in the center of town. This 33rd edition of the festive family fun event is presented by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce and will feature an antique fire truck parade, Grucci fireworks and the famous clam chowder contest. And, like last year, the Hampton Jitney will provide free transportation.
“We have lots of great things in store for this year,” says Laraine Creegan, executive director of the Chamber. “I’ve learned not to mess with a good thing so we never really take anything out of the weekend, we keep all the things people have come to expect and love, and then add events they might enjoy as new favorites also. This year is the 75th anniversary of the Montauk Fire Department, so we have gathered all the East End fire departments together, including Amagansett and Bridgehampton, and will have a big parade and display of antique fire trucks.” The parade will be held on Saturday, beginning at the IGA and running up Montauk Highway, ending at Lions Field. An antique fire truck display will begin at noon. “It will have many vintage and antique fire trucks from various eras of the fire departments and a display of some of them at the field,” says Creegan. “There should be 25 to 30 trucks total. It will be a really impressive show of these rare machines.”
The popular clam chowder contest returns on Saturday. It starts at 11 a.m. and the mugs are available for sale starting Friday afternoon in the Chamber building. Judging is done by both a Peoples Choice Award and by local food personalities, with the winners announced around 3 p.m. on Saturday.
“The contest will go on until the chowder runs out,” Creegan says. “As always there will be the two types of chowder—Manhattan and New England. What makes for a good chowder? I guess it starts with whether you like it spicy red or creamy white, and from there it depends on the depth of flavor. I know our merchants use the best local ingredients possible and that includes local clams, vegetables and herbs. There should be at least 25 restaurants competing this year.”
Music will be rocking on Saturday from 2–5 p.m. with Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks. Saturday night features a free fireworks show over Umbrella Beach, beginning at 7 p.m.
Both Saturday and Sunday will offer free carousel rides for the kids, the farmers market, along with crab races, inflatable rides for kids, pony rides, sidewalk chalk drawings, face painting, pumpkin decorating and more.
For adults, there will be local wines and craft beers, as well as local seafood. Take a chance on the Cash Catch raffle, which has gone as high as $20,000 in previous years. The drawing will be held on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
“It’s really all geared to be a big, fun family event, and our added bonus is the Fire Department anniversary this year,” says Creegan. “We appreciate all our volunteers, and always hope for great weather.”
To ease traffic congestion, the Festival is once again partnering with the Hampton Jitney to provide free rides to Montauk anywhere along the bus route starting in Southampton.
“If you call and make a reservation on the Jitney, the ride is free,” Creegan says. The rides are supported by a grant from the I Love NY Division of Tourism campaign. In addition to providing transportation to Montauk, there will be a loop from town to the lighthouse, the harbor and the LIRR station. “We encourage people to take advantage of this comfortable, free service to ease the traffic,” says Creegan. “Last year saw over 20,000 people here, so there will be traffic.”
For more info, visit montaukchamber.com or call 631-668-2428.