By Maddy Vitale
Ed Aleszczyk scooped out a hearty helping of New England clam chowder and handed it to a very pleased customer Sunday during Ocean City’s Seafood Festival.
The patron was one of many who lined up to order fresh seafood from Spadafora’s Seafood Restaurant, one of a few local eateries featured at the festival on the Music Pier.
“This is one way of going out for the season. We go out with a bang giving everyone a last taste before the season ends,” said Aleszczyk, an employee at Spadafora’s.
The menu at the different vendors consisted of all things seafood. Customers had their choice of broiled, fried, steamed or raw. There was something for all seafood foodies. It seemed chowders and crab cakes topped the list.
Seafood salads, chowders, lobster bisque, shrimp, oysters, lobster tail sandwiches, clams and even grouper made up some of the other tantalizing fare.
Bob Park, of Philadelphia, ordered crab cakes and a cup of New England clam chowder.
He and his family come to Ocean City several times during the summer.
“We’ve been to the seafood festival a bunch of times,” Park said. “We love it.”
The seafood festival is part of the city’s Indian Summer Weekend celebration, which is spread out on the Boardwalk and in the downtown shopping district along Asbury Avenue. On Saturday, the city boasted 40,000 people for the Fall Block Party. Many of the seafood festival customers were visiting for the holiday weekend.
Denise Hall, of Norristown, Pa., and her friends Ang Freed, of Collegeville, Pa., and Megan Briggs, of Lansdale, Pa., visit Ocean City for the block party and seafood festival every year. They come down with about 15 other women for a church retreat.
Hall was happy to see the seafood festival, one of her favorite parts of the trip, was still going strong.
“I was disappointed when I heard Spadafora’s was closed for the season,” Hall noted. “I am glad they are here for the seafood festival.”
She was spooning out tastes of her lobster bisque soup, which she described as delicious, while she waited for her main course to be ready.
“I just ordered the lobster tail sandwich,” Hall said. “I never tried it before.”
Freed, meanwhile, was all set to have scrumptious lump crab cakes as her lunch.
Unlike Hall and her friends, Jayne Kranjec and her daughter Jen Kranjec, both of Philadelphia, came down for a quiet mother-daughter weekend, and continue a special family tradition.
Jayne Kranjec used to visit Ocean City for the Indian Summer Weekend with her mother, Sylvia Huss, of Philadelphia. They would shop together and grab a bite at the seafood festival.
When Huss passed away 10 years ago, Jayne Kranjec stopped coming down. But this year she decided it was time for her and her daughter to make it a weekend getaway.
“My mom and I did it for 15 years,” Jayne Kranjec said.
When asked why they decided to pick up with the tradition again, Jen Kranjec said, “Why not?”
The duo sat on a bench, laughed and chatted before they began nibbling on their seafood entrees.
Jayne Kranjec took a bite of her shrimp salad. “It’s what mom always got,” she noted. “We are doing things the same way she and I did it. We are even staying at the same place.”
Jen Kranjec bit into her fish tacos and said they were really good. She hopes that one day, when she has a daughter, she will carry on the tradition her grandmother and mother began so many years ago.
The seafood festival continues into Monday. In addition, shops along the Boardwalk and Asbury Avenue featured their merchandise on tables with additional discounts.
For more information about this and other events in Ocean City visit www.ocnj.us