It's nowhere close to track season, but Saratoga Springs will nevertheless be packed with people Saturday for the city’s annual Chowderfest.
Last year, the event drew upwards of 30,000 people to Saratoga County. The event’s 22nd edition could prove just as busy, with 92 vendors offering chowder samples.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, restaurants and eateries from around the county will serve their best chowders, such as the smoked chicken and pork belly chowder from The Mercantile Kitchen; the Reuben Chowder from the Gideon Putnam; or the sweet and salty custard “chowder” from Burger-Fi.
For many restaurants, the winter months can be slower, but the festival is a way to draw big crowds.
“Some tell us that it’s the busiest day of the year for them,” said Darryl Leggieri, president of Discover Saratoga, which organizes the event. “I think it’s a great way for them to get exposure.”
With the construction of the City Center parking garage, organizers knew that getting around downtown would be a concern for attendees. They’ve contracted with Upstate Transit for shuttles running every 15-20 minutes from the Crescent Avenue entrance of the Saratoga Casino Hotel to Congress Park, and from Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Wilton Mall to the Hampton Inn on High Rock Avenue. The shuttles are free and will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Beyond the chowder, there will also be children's activities at the Saratoga Springs City Center and the Heritage Area Visitors Center, including Miss Stacey’s Face Painting and Balloon Gal Jenny.
Nine radio stations will be downtown playing music all day, including PYX 106, WEQX, Fly 92, 99.5 The River and others.
Certain restaurants will also host auxiliary events, like the tiki-themed party at Sperry’s.
Each chowder sample costs $1, and attendees are encouraged to vote for their favorites using Chowderfest ballots (which must be dropped off at the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitors Center or the Saratoga Springs City Center) or online at discoversaratoga.org/Chowderfest. Voting ends at 5 p.m., and the winning chowders will be announced at 6:30 p.m. at the Visitors Center.
Here’s a look at the list of participating restaurants:
534 Bistro, 534 Broadway
Adelphi Hotel, 365 Broadway
Augie’s Family Style Restaurant serving from Roohan Realty, 519 Broadway
Boca Bistro, 384 Broadway
Bookmakers at Holiday Inn, 232 Broadway
BurgerFi -- Dessert, 460 Broadway
Cantina, 430 Broadway
Comfort Kitchen -- downstairs Saratoga Marketplace, 454 Broadway
Courtyard by Marriott -- serving from City Center, 522 Broadway
Druthers Brewing Company, 381 Broadway
Fitzy’s Fork in the Road -- serving from City Center, 522 Broadway
Forno Bistro, 541 Broadway
Gideon Putnam -- serving from City Center, 522 Broadway
Knights of Columbus -- serving from City Center, 522 Broadway
Masonic Lodge #103 -- serving from Visitor Center, 297 Broadway
Pint Sized-Chowder by Cock ‘n Bull Restaurant, 489 Broadway
Plum Dandy -- Dessert, 419 Broadway
Salt & Char at the Adelphi Hotel, 365 Broadway
Saratoga Olive Oil, 484 Broadway
Saratoga Stadium, 389 Broadway
Spa Café on Broadway, 480 Broadway
The Mercantile Kitchen & Bar, 430 Broadway
The Saratoga Hilton, 534 Broadway
The Side Room at the Inn at Saratoga, 231 Broadway
Thirsty Owl Bistro, 184 S. Broadway
Vent Studio, 307 Broadway
Wesley Community - serving from Visitor Center, 297 Broadway
Wheatfields Restaurant & Bar, 440 Broadway
Wishing Well Restaurant -- serving from Hatsational, 510 Broadway
30 Park -- Serving from Embassy Suites 86 Congress St.
Bailey’s Café, 37 Phila St.
Ben & Jerry’s of Saratoga Springs -- Dessert, 34 Phila St.
Bourbon Room, 8 Caroline St.
Caroline Street Pub -- Chowder by Horseshoe Inn Bar & Grill, 9-11 Caroline St.
Chianti Il Ristorante, The Lofts @ 18 Division St.
Dango’s, 38 Caroline St.
Diamond Club Restaurant -- Embassy Suites, 86 Congress St.
Dizzy Chicken Wood Fired Rotisserie, 102 Congress St.
Esperanto, 4 Caroline St.
Falafel Den, 10 Phila St.
Farmers Hardware, 35 Maple Ave.
Fish at 30 Lake, 30 Lake Ave.
Flatbread Social, 84 Henry St.
Gaffney’s Restaurant, 16 Caroline St.
Hampton Inn & Suites, 25 Lake Ave.
Harvey’s Restaurant & Bar, 14 Phila St.
Hattie’s Restaurant, 45 Phila St.
Henry Street Taproom, 86 Henry St.
Ice House Bar & Grill, 70 Putnam St.
Jacob & Anthony’s American Grille, 38 High Rock Ave.
Karavalli Regional Cuisine of India, 47 Caroline St.
Local Pub & Teahouse, 142 Grand Ave.
Mouzon House, 1 York St.
Olde Bryan Inn, 123 Maple Ave.
Parting Glass, 40-42 Lake Ave.
Peabody’s Sports Bar & Grill, 39 Phila St.
Phila Fusion Noodle Bar, 54 Phila St.
Putnam Place, 63A Putnam St.
Saratoga City Tavern, 19 & 21 Caroline St.
Scallions Restaurant, 44 Lake Ave.
Seneca, 17 Division St.
Solevo Kitchen & Social, 55 Phila St.
Spa City Tap & Barrel, 13 Caroline St.
Sperry’s, 301/2 Caroline St.
Spring Street Deli, 132 Spring St.
Sushi Thai Garden, 44-46 Phila St.
Sweet Mimi’s Café & Bakery -- Dessert, 47 Phila St.
Tatu Tacos & Tequila, 17 Maple Ave., 2nd Floor
The Barrelhouse, 68 Beekman St.
The Cellar, 1 Caroline St.
The Night Owl, 17 Maple Ave., 1st Floor
The Soundbar, 6 Caroline St.
Three Vines Bistro, 32A Congress St.
Walt & Whitman Brewing Company 20 Lake Ave.
Wasabi Restaurant, 63 Putnam St.
West Side Sports Bar and Grill, 112 Congress St.
Away from downtown
Bentley’s Tavern, 4 Hemphill Place
Carson’s Woodside Tavern, 57 Route 9P
Chez Pierre, 979 Route 9
Dock Brown’s Lakeside Tavern, 511 Route 9P
Dunning Street Station, 2853 Route 9
King’s Tavern, 241 Union Ave.
Longfellows Restaurant, 500 Union Ave.
Nostalgia Ale House and Wine Bar, 113 Route 9P
Panza’s Restaurant, 129 S. Broadway
PJ’s BAR-B-QSA, 1 Kaydeross Ave.
Prime at Saratoga National, 458 Union Ave.
Ribbon Café, 11 Prospect St.
Rusty Nail Grill and Tavern, 1781 Route 9
Saratoga 5 Points Market & Deli, 42 Park Place
The Brook Tavern, 139 Union Ave.
The Mill on Round Lake, 2121 Route 9