Cape Cod Scallop Festival

Cape Cod Scallop Festival in Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.

46th Annual Cape Cod Scallop Festival

By Mary Moran
Photography by P.L. O’Connell

Cape Cod Scallop Festival in Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.
Cape Cod Scallop Festival.

The year was 1969 and the local fisherman from the town of Bourne and surrounding areas came together and decided to hold a Scallop Festival in order to entice more tourists to the area and also hold a fun, celebration-like event, that was suitable for the entire family. The festival was such a success that it became an annual event, that has since been taken over and organized by the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce. Today, the Cape Cod Scallop Festival is attended by over 50,000 visitors annually.  The amount of deliciously fresh scallops that are deep-fried to mouth-watering perfection, weigh in at over 3 tons! That is a whole lot of seafood.

In order to hold the event during inclement weather, the festival was “tented” so that no one would miss out on all that fabulous Cape Cod seafood. The “rain or shine” affair was, for many years, located at the foot of the railroad bridge at Buzzard’s Bay Park. With an exponential increase in attendees, the event was moved to the Cape Cod Fairgrounds right here in our beautiful town of Falmouth. With acres and  acres of open land and with an ample amount of free parking available, the Fairgrounds were deemed the perfect location for the popular food event.

While the Cape Cod Scallop Festival’s main focus is on the scallops, there is something for everyone. The other main course offered at the festival is an oven-roasted chicken dinner (provided by J&J Concessions). All meals are served with French fries, coleslaw, a roll, and a soda.

If those two tempting entrees STILL don’t entice you, or if you are looking for something for the kids, there is a full food court with options such as lobster rolls, salads, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers and more. You can even grab a beer or a glass of wine to wash down your hearty meal of choice.

Outside of the food court, possibilities for good ol’ family fun are endless. Local musicians and actors perform live from open to close each day, and classic carnival rides are around every corner. There is also face-painting, arts and crafts, and many other great activities too. *****New this year: an inflatable park, perfect for the kids.*****

Scallop glass ornaments on Waterford champagne glasses at the Palmer House Inn, in Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.
Scallop glass ornaments.

The Cape Cod Scallop Fest has turned into such a majorly successful and satisfying event that it has been named in the,” Top 100 Events in North America” for five years in a row!

The 46th Annual Cape Cod Scallop Festival will be held on September 18th-20th of this year, rain or shine. It’s located at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds, 1220 Nathan Ellis Highway (Rte. 151), East Falmouth, Massachusetts. Hours of operation are from 10 to 10 on Friday and Saturday, and from 10 to 6 on Sunday. For a list of this year’s entertainment line-up and for general admission and combo ticket prices, visit the event’s website at www.scallopfest.org. Children under six enter for free! Come support local Cape Cod businesses and spend a day at the Cape Cod Scallop Fest! Guaranteed fun for the whole family (and your stomach too)!


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures sampling Cape Cod’s finest cuisine, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs for a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.

Scallop Season on the Cape

All of the recipes that I have written on this blog have been for breakfasts. However, since moving to Falmouth, six years ago, we have developed a fondness for the abundance of seafood to be found in this area. The following is a particularly tasty dish that we ran across recently.

Scallops in Honey, Lemon, Thyme Sauce

Serves two

1 pound sea scallops
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1/4 cup honey

Pat scallops dry with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of butter and olive oil. In small batches, making sure they do not touch in the pan, sear scallops 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown, but still medium rare inside. Use tongs to flip them. Place seared scallops in a separate dish to rest and continue until all scallops are served.

Turn heat down to medium low and add 1 tablespoon butter, lemon juice, zest, thyme and honey to the same pan the scallops cooked in. Whisk ingredients together and cook until thickened, about five minutes. Add the last tablespoon of butter and whisk briskly until sauce is glossy. Place the cooked scallops back in the pan and toss them in the sauce to evenly coat them and warm them back up.