WESTPORT, Conn. – Up to 10,000 people are expected to attend this year’s Chowdafest, an annual chowder and soup competition that benefits the Connecticut Food Bank. That’s why it was moved to the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport from Westport’s Bedford Middle School.
“This is our fifth year, and Chowdafest has gotten so popular, we are now the largest culinary event in Connecticut, and expect to be the biggest chowder and soup competition in all of New England after this year,” event Chairman Jim Keenan of Westport’s Unitarian Church said in an email.
The competition features a variety of soups and chowders from restaurants all over the state, many from Fairfield County. Armed with spoons, ballots and pencils, Chowdafest attendees — both children and adults — taste as many soups and chowders as they can and then vote for their favorites in three categories: traditional New England clam chowder, creative chowders and soups/bisques.
This year’s showdown will feature 30 chowders and soups from 25 restaurants. Participating restaurants include Bloom Brothers, Blue Lemon, Bodega Taco Bar, Bobby Q’s, Close Harbour Seafood in Plantsville, Dunville’s, Ginger Man, The Goose, High Tide Gourmet in Madison, Mansion Clam House, Nicholas Roberts Gourmet Bistro, Southport Brewing Co., Tavern on Main and many more.
Started in 2008 by Keenan and other members of Westport’s Unitarian Church, this football-themed event, held annually on Super Bowl Sunday, raises funds for the Connecticut Food Bank.
“Low-income families are struggling to put food on the table as heating and fuel costs rise during the cold winter months,” Connecticut Food Bank President and CEO Nancy Carrington said. “Each year we look forward to another successful Chowdafest event and appreciate the community’s overwhelming support to help their hungry neighbors.”
Chowdafest will be held Feb. 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6 to 12. Children 5 and under are free. Attendees who bring a nonperishable food item will be entered for a chance to win a $200 Stop & Shop gift card.