Along with cooler weather and strangely dressed children, there are a slew of food and drink events coming up in October, including two restaurant weeks and fests of every description.
October is always the biggest month of the year for activities in Salem, and this year is no exception. For a full schedule of Halloween related events, check out their Haunted Happenings site.
This Saturday, October 6th, Salem will see two tasty events to benefit great causes. At the 2nd Annual Salem Chowderfest you can sample some of the city’s best clam chowder while listening to live bands from 11:00 to 2:00. The $5 tasting fee benefits the Avon Foundation, which raises breast cancer awareness and education. At 5:00 head on over to the Boys & Girls Club for Witchtoberfest. There’s a Beer Run beforehand, or you can just spend the evening sampling beer and food and listening to live music. A portion of the proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem.
Also on the 6th the Essex Shipbuilding Museum hosts Ales over ALS from noon to 5:00. Not only will it be an afternoon full of great local brews and food, but the event also features an amateur homebrewing competition, to be judged by special guests. The coolest part is that the winning beer will then be be produced by Haverhill Brewery and proceeds from the sales of the one-time release will go towards helping to develop a cure for ALS.
Then it’s the start of the very first Beverly Restaurant Week, on Sunday October 7. Purchase a two-course, prix-fixe dinner for $15 or a three-course dinner for $25. Participating restaurants include American BBQ, BellaMia Trattoria, Bertucci’s, Chianti, Cielito Lindo, Cygnet, Beverly Depot, EJ Cabots, Hale Street Tavern, Happy Clam Seafood Cafe, Kame, Kitty O’Sheas, Mikado, Not Your Average Joe’s, Organic Garden Cafe, and Prides Bar & Grille.
Next up is a Harvest Dinner at Gloucester’s Alchemy on Thursday October 11 starting at 7:00. Co-owner Jeff Cala and head chef Scott Jensen will execute a five-course menu based on the new crop of goodies from the fall harvest, and general manager Matt Rose will test the limits of his drink repertoire to provide pairings with each course. Tickets are $100 per person and seats are limited. Call (978) 281-3997 to reserve.
On Friday October 12 from 6:30 to 9:00, join fellow foodies for Tales and Ales at Newbury’s Swett-Ilsley House, which served the town as Swett’s Tavern in the late 17th century. The huge fireplace and massive beams make a great backdrop for enjoying traditional local brews from Ipswich Ale Brewery and a hearty tavern dinner while listening to true tales of sword fights, scandalous romances, and bloody brawls from Newbury’s storied past. Tickets are $35 for Historic New England Members and $55 for non-members. Call (978) 462-2634 for information or purchase tickets here.
There’s a Bootleg Bash Prohibition Party on Saturday October 13 from 7:00 to 10:00 at the Lynn Museum to celebrate its 115th anniversary. Enjoy an evening of Roaring ’20s entertainment with live music by the Salem Jazz Fest, cash bar and signature cocktail, raffle roulette and live auction, costume contest, photo booth, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and birthday cake, festival food to purchase, and speakeasy surprises.
The Rockport HarvestFest is also on the 13th, from 10:00 to 6:00. Along with live music and kids activities, there’s an 11:00 cooking demonstration and a 3:00 seafood throwdown hosted by the lovely Heather Atwood. You can sample fare from local restaurants and shops, including seafood, sweets, pastries, soups, and beer.
Alfalfa Farm Winery in Topsfield will be hosting their Harvest Fest on both Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14, which includes tours of the winery and vineyards, wine tastings and live music.
A Taste of Swampscott on Sunday October 14 from 1:00 to 3:30 is shaping up to be quite an event at Swampscott High School. Tickets are only $15 in advance ($20 at the door) and restaurants include The Blue Ox, Caffé Paolina, Cupcakes by NeeNee, Five Guys, Marblehead’s new Joey D’s, Red Rock Bistro, Sweet Life Confections, Terry’s Ice Cream, and many more.
The ever-popular Essex Clam Fest takes place on Saturday October 20 from 11:00 to 4:00 this year at Shepard Memorial Park. The free event includes entertainment, Ipswich Ale samples, an arts and crafts area, and kid’s games. For $5, you can eat more chowder than you ever wanted and vote for your favorite.
Also on the 20th is Salem Harvest Fest, from 4:30 to 8:00 at the Knights of Columbus. It features a grand tasting of wine, mead, and craft beer, including Magic Hat, Cape Ann Brewing, Cody Brewing, Harpoon, Mayflower, Narrangansett, Notch Session Beer, White Birch, Clown Shoes, Element Brewing, Ipswich/Mercury, Berkshire Brewing, Isaaks of Salem, and Sap House Meadery. Mitch Alden from Now Is Now will provide live entertainment. Tickets are $25 in advance at Pamplemousse or online, and $30 the day of the event.
Cape Ann Restaurant Week starts on October 21, with three-course meals for either $33.12 or $25.12. Participating restaurants include Lobsta Land, The Grand Café at Emerson Inn, Alchemy, Latitude 43, Cala’s, The Landing at 7 Central, and Mile Marker One.
Also that Sunday, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate is throwing a Chef’s Octoberfest. the $75 ticket promises to bring you Chef Robert Grant from The Blue Room in Cambridge creating a lush, multi-course meal using fresh local produce, accompanied by plenty of ale and music. The feast is slated to be served alfresco, though will move to the barn in the event of rain.
Finally, on the Saturday the 27th, The Wine ConneXtion in North Andover will be hosting its Third Annual Fall Grand Tasting, where they will be pouring over 50 wines, which attendees can taste free of charge from 12:00 to 5:00 along with food bites from Chama Grill.