Jan. 23, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez
A large food festival highlighting dishes made with sustainably-sourced seafoods will take place in Long Island City this weekend.
Aquarius, the name of the “artic-chic” festival, will be held inside the Foundry event space at 42-38 9th St. from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Jan. 26, and marks the second annual festival for the co-founders—a cohort of event organizers.
The festival aims to promote environmentally-friendly practices toward catching or farming seafood, and is part of the sustainable seafood movement that started in the 1990s with awareness campaigns on overfishing, the destruction of marine ecosystems, and the importance of preserving marine biodiversity.
Guests will be able to purchase and savor a variety of seafood dishes and more from five restaurant vendors while sipping on cocktails, beers, and other drinks included in the entry ticket price.
Kellari Taverna, a Manhattan-based Greek restaurant, will offer dishes like ‘hard clam’ chowder, Icelandic Arctic Char Croquettes and black cod fish and chips. Shellfish farming, according to the restaurant, has minimal ecological impacts, given its plankton-eating nature.
The Arctic Char is also sourced through fisheries that use the “raceway” farming method, a series of pools sourced near a water supply that is considered less impactful than other aquaculture systems.
Ca’pisci, which sells “delights from the sea” at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg, will also set up shop at Aquarius. The vendor, with Sicilian origins, will offer dishes like stuffed squid caught using a low impact “jig” method; freshwater prawn skewers, and sautéed blue mussels. A fisherman’s salad will also be available, made with Marine Stewardship Council-certified tuna and calamari.
Other vendors include Neapolitan Pizza Express, known for its eco-friendly approaches, which will offer a pie made with sustainably-sourced Little Neck clams among other varieties. A raw bar with oyster, shrimp and more will also be set up at the festival.
The festival, which bills itself as the only event of its kind nationwide, also features live entertainment and music, a photo booth with nautical props, and “immersive” rooms with themes like “The Fireside Garden” and “Winter Wolf Ballet.”
Tickets are divided into three categories or “waves” and range from $100 to 150 for persons 21 and over. All tickets include access to performances and rooms, along with cocktails and beverages and access to an after-party at Profundo Rooftop within Ravel Hotel next door. The “first wave” of tickets, valued at $100, have already sold out, with tickets remaining for the second wave at $125 and the third wave at $150.
The festival is put on by Secret Summer, an event production company, along with similar co-organizations like Highlife Productions and RAPT.
Tyler Hollinger, founder of Highlife Productions, said the event is expected to see 500 people, according to AM New York.