Blog courtesy of Lambertville Chamber of Commerce

Welcome To Shad Fest 2023 – 40 Years of Art, Fish, Food, and Fun!

In 1981, what began as a showcase for the local art scene, has evolved into a nationally recognized, award-winning event. Enjoy two-days, filled with hand-crafted art, jewelry, home goods, a variety of delectable food, music, and fun for the whole family!

Winner of “Best Event” by the Bucks County Herald, Shad Fest 2023 marks 40 years of festivals. Come see what it’s all about and why Lambertville was named “Best Destination 2023” by Jersey’s Best Magazine.

1. Taste.

Come for the Food! Taste some of the best festival favorites or dine in at local spots. Shad Fest delights all five senses with local culinary specialties. Come hungry and expect intense satisfaction. Everything from taco salads to fried Calamari! There will also be the tried-and-true favorites: shad chowder, hot dogs, fried oreos, hamburgers, fries and fresh lemonade for the traditionalists.

2. Listen.

Live music fills the air at Shad Fest. You can find local musicians throughout the festival and local restaurants. Acts ranging from rock to country & western to blues and funk perform Saturday and Sunday. This year enjoy the numerous and diverse musical talents throughout the entire town of Lambertville. Every block or so will be jamming, swinging, and rocking with talented singers and bands.

3. Support.

Local non-profits use Shad Fest as a venue to raise awareness and funds to support their important missions.

4. Play.

Shad Fest has lots of ways for families to join in the fun. The Kids’ Bazaar in the North Union parking lot gives kids of all ages the chance to create their own arts and crafts, from making candles to printing T-shirts, face Painting, Sand Art, and other children’s activities.

5. Shop.

Honor the roots of Shad Fest by purchasing local arts and crafts. Over 80 of the region’s finest artists and crafters featuring everything – jewelry, ceramics, furniture, apparel, accessories, home décor and more! Here you will find hand-crafted art, jewelry, home accents, treats for your pets. Visit the Home and Garden section for a carefully curated selection of goods for your home and garden. Local’s Lane is a quaint area filled with treasures made by Lambertville area artists.


6. **MOST IMPROTANT DETAIL – Parking!!!**

During Shad Fest in Lambertville, NJ, parking can be limited due to the large number of visitors. You can park in the various public parking lots around the city and some of the side streets. It’s recommended to arrive early to secure a spot, as the lots and street parking fill up quickly. There is also a shuttle service provided from a remote parking lot to the festival area, so you can park there and take the shuttle to the festival if you are unable to find street parking.

Note: Parking regulations and availability may change, so it’s best to check the official Shad Fest website or local authorities for the most up-to-date information.

– Parking lot locations can be found here!  Also note that additional places will be posted soon.

7.  Reservations

Lastly, remember to make your reservations NOW! Plan your stay at one of our many inns and hotels and make your dining reservations before they fill up. Follow the links on this site for more information about where to STAY and where to DINE

Just for fun!  People new to Shad Fest ask a lot of questions. Here are the answers to a few:

What is a shad?

The American Shad is the largest fish in the herring family. Every spring, the Delaware River in Lambertville, NJ is home to returning Shad. Making their way back from the Atlantic Ocean to spawn before returning to the ocean Shad migrate from salt water to fresh water to reproduce. Fishermen call this the “annual spring shad run.”

What’s the best way to eat shad?

Chefs prepare shad in a variety of ways. A lot of people like it smoked. One of the best local shad recipes is from Paul Eschallier of Bell’s Tavern: Shad & Shrimp Fritters. Yum.

What if I don’t like fish?

No worries, Shad Fest welcomes lovers of all foods. There are so many things to do, see and eat at Shad Fest; you’ll love it whether you like fish or not. Spend some time exploring to plan your perfect day!

Is there a rain date?

The fun doesn’t stop in Lambertville due to a few rain drops. Shad Fest takes place rain or shine. Be sure you dress for the weather. A wise friend once told me, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

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