Chowder contest not returning to festival

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The crew from the Blue Canoe giving out samples of their chowder during last year’s festival.

Despite a valiant effort by the Greenport Farmers’ Market, the chowder contest won’t be making a return to this year’s Maritime Festival in Greenport.

With the blessing of festival organizers, manager KiKi Hurst rushed to confirm enough contestants after a grassroots effort to bring back the contest. But putting the pieces back together in just over a week before the festival proved unfeasible.

“Everyone was so interested it just came down to logistics,” Ms. Hurst said. “When the contest was called off restaurants picked up other things instead. They just didn’t have enough man power.”

Ms. Hurst said she and fellow residents were inspired to bring back the long-running competition after the East End Seaport Museum decided to replace it with an oyster shucking event for the first time this year.

Last month, Seaport Museum chairman Ron Breuer said the move was not only an effort to better reflect Greenport’s legacy as an oystering community, but also because of the burdensome preparations of organizing the contest. Participating restaurants were responsible for preparing up to 25 gallons of chowder each, not to mention delivering and properly heating it during the contest, Mr. Breuer said.

Establishing a space and covering the expense of renting tents to house the competition was also problematic.

Ms. Hurst said the Farmers’ Market already has lot of the necessary elements needed to host the contest, such as tables and tents. Time, however, was not on their side.

“The Farmer’s Market made a very strong effort,” Mr. Breuer said. “It looks like it will be an event next year.”

Both Ms. Hurst and Mr. Breuer said they fully intend to bring back the chowder competition for future festivals.

“It’s a good fundraiser for everyone and it’s a lot of fun,” Ms. Hurst said. “We’re excited for it to return next year.”

The 24th annual Maritime Festival is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday with the opening reception Friday night.

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