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Chowderfest in Saratoga Springs breaks record for participation

Chowderfest in Saratoga Springs breaks record for participation

Discover Saratoga says 40K slurped, 138K cups served, nearly 100 vendors
Chowderfest in Saratoga Springs breaks record for participation
Crowded lines outside Blue Hen on Broadway during the 21st annual Saratoga Chowderfest in Saratoga Springs on Saturday.
Photographer: ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

In its 21st annual edition, Saratoga Chowderfest broke all of its records for attendance, restaurant participation and total cups of chowder served Saturday.

Darryl Leggieri, president of Discover Saratoga, said Saratoga Chowderfest 2019 drew an estimated 40,000 people Saturday. He said a record 96 vendors participated in the event, each offering $1 cups of chowder, which combined resulted in 138,000 servings of chowder. 

"For a festival that's over 21 years old, it's still doing  well," Leggieri said. 

More from this week: Our top stories Feb. 2-8, 2019

The event is estimated to generate at least $2 million in revenue for the businesses in Saratoga. Many business owners and managers could be seen counting thick stacks of cash in the front of their establishments as long lines formed with eager chowder enthusiasts. 

Scott Johnson, one of the co-owners of Sperry's, which served a classic Manhattan style chowder, said he was very impressed with the turn out. 

"It's like doing an August day's business in February," he said. 

Images: 21st annual Saratoga Chowderfest, Feb. 2, 2019

Leggieri said Chowderfest has grown into one of the best business days of the year for participating restaurants. 

"It's amazing to hear from some of the restaurants that I talk to, that its the busiest day of the year for them," he said. 

DeAnna Wedge, a resident of Averill Park, said she's gone to Chowderfest for each of the last six years. She said one of the highlights for her was seeing a dog wearing a Carhartt jacket. She said this year's Chowderfest was so busy and the lines were so long she decided not to go to Gaffney's Restaurant, normally her favorite chowder spot, which had a Shrimp Corn Chowder With Bailey's Cornbread Croutons. 

"Chowderfest has people and music and food and beers, it's just a good time," she said. 

Stephanie Gross, of Amsterdam, said Saturday was her first time attending the event.

"I had Saturday off, so a bunch of us decided to go. I'd heard about it, but I just never had the time to go," Gross said.

The high number of people attending the event prompted Gross to leave early. 

"It was OK, but the lines were kind of long. We started at the Thirsty Owl Bistro and the Mill on Round Lake. They were both pretty good," she said.

Chowderfest participants were able to fill out ballots to help select the annual winners for the best chowders.  

The winners of the 2019 Chowderfest are as follows:

  • Best dessert chowder — Sweet Mimi's Cafe & Bakery: Sweet Mimi's Tiramis
  • Best non-downtown chowder — Ribbon Café: Southwest Shrimp Corn Chowder With Tequila Bacon
  • Best off-Broadway chowder — Dizzy Chicken Wood Fired Rotisserie: House Smoked Bacon Poblano & Corn Chowder
  • Best newcomer — Ribbon Café
  • Best chowder made with Saranac beer — Bookmakers at Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs: Adirondack Lager BBQ Chicken Chowder
  • People’s choice — Ribbon Café
  • Best on Broadway — Thirsty Owl Bistro: Seafood Chowder

More from this week: Our top stories Feb. 2-8, 2019

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