Clam Chowder Festival
in Santa Cruz
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This year we made it down to Santa Cruz for the Annual Clam Chowder Festival.  It's held down on the beach boardwalk, so you are right there by the ocean tasting your favorite varities of clam chowder.  Tons of chefs, both amatuer and professionsl come to show off their chowder making abilities.  Even the firehouses get in on the festivities!
The festival offers both Manhattan and New England chowders served up with lots of fun!!
The banner announcing the way to the clam chowder.  We arrived at just the right time.  Serving began at 1.  We arrived at 12:45.  We had just enough time to stroll through the booths and decide which we would sample.
Karen poses with a sample from her favorite chef.  This guy had won tons of awards already.  You can see them on the table to the left.  His chowder was thick, went fast and finished in 2nd place for the amatuer contest.
Karen and Melody pose with the boardwalk and the Chowderfest in the background.  It was just the right kind of day for chowder; cool and cloudy, but no rain!
All of the booths had a theme or special name.  The groups really had a lot of fun and got into the spirit.  Most of the cooks also offered pieces of sourdough bread to enjoy with their chowder.
Karen poses with a banana slug.  We weren't sure what he was, but he looked so cute we had to a picture with him.
We had so much trouble deciding which chowders to sample that we bought another tasting kit to taste 5 more.  We also tried the Manhattan chowder for the first time.  Melody and I decided that we liked the thick, creamy New England kind better than the tomato broth of the Manhattan chowder.  Also, they seemed to use smaller pieces of clams in the New England variety, another thing we like in our chower.
Karen and Melody at the end of a fun filled day.  The ocean in the background provided the perfect setting for the Clam Chowder Festival.  Till next year!
They had the boardwalk open for the festival with some of the rides and the carni games operating.  Melody and I decided to try our luck on a balloon water race.  I'm ready here to shoot that stream of water into the clowns mouth and bust that balloon.   We lost but at least I looked cute!