Winter at Tantora

Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival: What to Know if You Go

by Holly Riddle

Oct 9, 2018

Battery Wharf, Boston, Massachusetts © Jon Bilous | Dreamstime

Trends / Food & Drink

The 28th annual Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival takes place Oct. 13–14 in Newport, Rhode Island. The free and seafood-centric festival attracts travelers from up and down the New England coast, but you don’t have to be a seafood lover to enjoy this event.


The festival honors “the harvest of the sea” with plenty of fresh, local seafood in every style and form, from lobster rolls to fried calamari.


Approximately 30–35 vendors and sampling stations set up shop on the Wharf, offering wares, in addition to the area’s year-round businesses, which serve up everything from saltwater taffy to wine to sweet treats. Guests find plenty of restaurants along the festival walk, many offering special festival fare menus.


Beyond the food, visitors can enjoy walking the historic, cobblestone-paved streets, while browsing the marketplace-like atmosphere and listening to some live music. Six popular bands perform live music on the main stage over the two days and dancing is encouraged.


You’ll also never go thirsty at this event. The sponsors include recognizable brands and some new names, such as Moet & Chandon, Whalers Brewing, Belvedere Vodka, Ardbeg Whisky, Cloudy Bay Vineyards, Captain Morgan Rum, Bulleit Bourbon, Tanqueray Gin and Don Julio Tequila.


According to Beatrice Wadson, marketing and communications director, Bowen’s Wharf Co., visitors can expect “a rollicking good time on the waterfront, boats coming in and out [and] local chefs serving up their locally-sourced specialties. People love the Shuckin’ Truck, the fried foods at Seafood Hut and the lobster rolls from Matunuck Oyster Bar and Newport Lobster Shack.”


For guests who want to stay right on the Wharf, the Seamen’s Church Institute offers guestrooms on the top floor of its historic building, the only original structure on the historic square and one of few buildings in the area still used for its original purposes.

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