If the phrase “died and gone to seafood heaven” sounds like something you’d like to get down with, going to the 33rd Annual Charlestown Seafood Festival from August 4 to 6 is an absolute must.
Every year, Ninigret Park is overtaken by stands filled with chowder and clam cakes, steamed mussels, fish and chips, lobster rolls and raw bars. On average, about 60 percent of the seafood vendors are local. “We encourage local restaurants and vendors to participate in the festival,” explains Heather Paliotta, executive director of Charlestown’s Chamber of Commerce. It’s the Chamber that spearheads the festival every year. “The aquaculture industry is rapidly growing in southern Rhode Island, and as a result several local vendors are on hand at the event to serve up fresh raw bar items like oysters and littleneck clams.” To balance out all the seafood, typical fair foods are on offer as well, including hamburgers, hot dogs, kettle corn, funnel cakes and cotton candy, along with unexpected treats such as alligator tail.
Festival goers are serenaded each day by local bands, a DJ and folks belting out karaoke. After chowing down on all the fresh seafood, there’s plenty more to do and see: artists with their crafts on display, kayaking, bungee jumping (best to do before eating), a rock wall, various amusement park rides and camping available for RVs. And the fireworks display on Saturday is always a blast.