This year’s fall festival sponsored by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce over the weekend drew its biggest crowd ever. Thousands of people gathered on the downtown green for a sampling of Octoberfest food, games, music, a farmers market, a carousel, and a chowder tasting. The two-day festival is now in its 32nd year.
Laraine Creegan, the chamber’s executive director, said the media had promoted the festival as never before. Newsday had it on the cover of its Long Island section on Oct. 6, for example. “It was the largest and most fantastic festival ever,” Ms. Creegan said.
Families took lawn chairs and set them up for the day around the perimeter of a tent used on Sunday for the Montauk Playhouse Community Center’s auction. Dogs, babies in carriages, toddlers and their parents, grandparents, aunts, and cousins wandered through the crowd, and on Saturday most of them gathered again later in the evening to watch fireworks by Grucci from Umbrella Beach.
At the chowder-tasting contest on Saturday, lines started forming early in the day. Police stationed on the eastern corner of the green had to move back to accommodate the long lines. More than 4,000 cups of New England and Manhattan clam chowder were ladled into commemorative cups, which sold for $10 with two tastings.
“We couldn’t have done it without the 80 volunteers who helped us,” Ms. Creegan said.
Judges awarded the Backyard restaurant at Solé East the number-one spot for the New England blend. Gosman’s restaurant came in second, and Tre Bella at the Montauk Manor placed third.
John’s Pancake House took first place for its Manhattan-style chowder, Shagwong Tavern placed second, and Inlet Seafood was third, but won the people’s choice award.
The chamber’s Cash Catch raffle didn’t quite meet the 1,000 mark for tickets expected to be sold, which reduced the cash prizes. Christine Romano of Valley Stream took the top prize of $9,487. The crew from the Dock restaurant in Montauk chipped in for a ticket that cost $50 and won the second-place prize of $3,795. Rose Marie Kogut of Montauk won the third-place prize of $1,897.
While visitors roamed, they were also treated to the sight of silly and scary scarecrows mounted on almost every corner in the hamlet. Local children and businesses had made them, thanks to Montauk Youth and the Montauk Village Association, both of which handed out the frames and locations for the straw folk.
Over 4,000 cups of chowder were served at the Montauk Chamber of Commerce fall festival last weekend. Clockwise from far right, Leon Day served up the last of the chowder when it ran out at about 1 p.m. on Saturday; Abilene Foster found a resting spot on a hay bale, and children took their turns making sand art when they weren’t bouncing, having their faces painted, or riding the merry-go-round.