Large crowds expected for Hampton Beach Seafood Festival

The Hampton Beach Seafood Festival features food vendors, entertainment and crafts.

HAMPTON — Workers are busy setting up for the 29th annual Hampton Beach Seafood Festival, which begins Friday and is expected to draw more than 100,000 people to the three-day event.

“Every hotel on Hampton Beach, for the most part, is completely full for the weekend,” said John Nyhan, president of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Crew members were putting up tents Wednesday afternoon and half of Ocean Boulevard, the beach community’s main drag, was already closed to traffic.

Close to 45 people have been hired to work at the festival, Nyhan said.

“We’ve had individuals who plan some of their summer vacation time to come here to work,” Nyhan said. “We basically build a little community that has to be open by Friday night.”

The festival starts at 4 p.m. Friday. 50 food vendors and 60 crafters are participating this year, according to Colleen Westcott, the festival’s Director of Events and Marketing.

Westcott said in addition to the ever-popular lobster roll eating contest at 2 p.m. Saturday, there will be a cornhole tournament at the same time on the sand at the beach bar.

On Sunday, people can watch the New England Patriots face the Houston Texans in their season opener on two 75-inch televisions in the beer tent.

Nyhan said there will be live entertainment on two stages throughout the event. Fireworks are planned for 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Service Credit Union is the presenting sponsor of the seafood festival. While they last, free wristbands will be distributed to active military personnel at their branch locations.