Lambertville residents hosted the first Shad Fest in 1981 to highlight the local art scene. The Shad Fest tradition was born as spring blossomed, the shad made their way upriver, and the locals strolled through town enjoying the arts and crafts of their friends and neighbors.
Today, Shad Fest has grown from a local event to an award-winning tourist attraction. It takes place April 25 and 26, 12:30-5 p.m. each day, and there’s no fee for admission.
What is a shad?
The American Shad is the biggest fish in the herring family. Every spring, 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. Jim Hamilton, Lambertville Station and others have incredible variations.
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 that you’ll find something you like.
What are the top 5 things to do at Shad Fest?
1) See and purchase local arts and crafts at the booths lining Union Street, and be sure to stop by the Poster Display and Auction at the First Presbyterian Church, 31 N. Union St.
2) Also check out the Shad hauling demonstrations on Lewis Island at the end of Lambert Lane. The Lewis family has been fishing these waters since 1888, and holds the only remaining commercial license to catch shad with nets.
3) Visit the North Union parking lot to learn about the local non-profit organizations serving our communities.
4) Listen as live music fills the air, from street buskers to bands playing outside some of our favorite restaurants and destinations.
5) Taste and taste some more. The Food Court at the intersection of Bridge and Union streets is a great place to sample locally-made culinary delights.
Is there a rain date?
Shad Fest takes place rain or shine. Be sure you dress for the weather.
Where do I park?
There’s limited free on-street parking. Meters accept nickels, dimes and quarters. Fixed-rate parking is available at the following commercial lots: RiverWalk – South Main Street; Diamond Silver Building parking lot, 24 Arnett Ave.; and Rago Auctions – Cherry Street (across from CVS). Parking is also available near the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead just north of the City, about a 20-minute walk to Shad Fest along the canal.
Another great place to park is at New Hope-Solebury High School on West Bridge Street, just a couple of blocks up from Main Street in New Hope. Proceeds benefit school activities. Make sure to stroll the streets of New Hope for more shopping, food, entertainment, history, and art at Bucks County’s #1 tourist attraction.