Food, Fun, Festivities: The Cape Cod Scallop Fest has it all

scallops01The Cape Cod Annual Scallop Fest is a long-time tradition in these parts, and was first started in the Town of Bourne in 1969. Forty-seven years ago, with the idea to attract tourists to the area and to have an event locals and their families could also enjoy, local fishermen got together at Buzzards Bay Park and decided to hold a scallop festival.

Today, people from all over the country converge on the Cape for this fun, family-friendly weekend, featuring the best in food, festivities and entertainment. Not a fan of scallops? Not a problem! Scallops are not the only item on the menu. You can also choose from chicken dinners, chowder, lobster rolls, a raw bar, hot dogs, burgers, salads, wraps and fried dough. The event includes a juried arts and craft show, live music, children’s rides and many family activities, as well as a car show and a corn hole tournament!

The Fest has changed and grown over the years and has been held at several different venues. In the past, it’s been held inside the National Guard Armory in Buzzards Bay, but quickly outgrew the building and was moved for a brief time to the Massachusetts Military Reservation. Twenty years ago, volunteers decided to “tent” the event, allowing the Fest to return to Buzzards Bay Park and be held rain or shine. Eventually, the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber stepped in to organize and supervise the event. Today, the Scallop Fest has moved to the 98-acre Cape Cod Fairgrounds in East Falmouth.

According the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, the annual Scallop Fest is now an economic development bonanza for the canal region. The Fest increases tourism each year and creates employment opportunities for hundreds of locals. The people employed for last year’s Scallop Fest event supplemented the 500 volunteers who helped manage the Fest over the weekend, including the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office that helps set up and breakdown the grounds.

If you make it to the Cape for one event this season, this should be that event. The 2016 Cape Cod Scallop Fest offers something for everyone. It has been awarded The American Bus Association’s “Top 100 Events in North America” for five years in a row. Gates open at 11 a.m. each day. General admission for the day (not including meal tickets) is only $7 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-12 and free for kids under 6. For more information, visit

By Ann Luongo

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