Chowderfest is happening this weekend on Saturday, February 1st from 11am to 4pm! Tons of local businesses take place and downtown is flooded with chowderheads popping in from spot to spot to sample as many chowders as they can. The temps might be chilly (predicted high of 35 degrees that day and a 30% chance of snow showers) but if you plan ahead with some warm up spots and potty breaks it is totally doable (and fun!) to do with kids. Plus they make sure to add some great kids events and activities to keep it entertaining for the littles, like a puppet show, wandering Super Heroes, the Chowderfest Hat Contest, alpacas to meet and greet and much more. The Mamatoga Family Chowderfest Map is back for it's second year, and is designed as a sample route through downtown where you can hit up the kid friendly events with some chowder sampling and warm up spots along the way, click the map for a larger view.
Here are some helpful hints:
- Stop by the bank and bring a bunch of $1 bills. Each chowder is a dollar to sample, so come prepared with cash in hand.
- You can pick up a ballot at any participating location, and they will give you a stamp at each spot you sample. Complete your ballot form and pick up your official Chowderfest Long-sleeve T-shirt for $10. The ballot drop-offs and T-shirt locations are at the Saratoga Springs Visitor Center and Saratoga Springs City Center. The winner is announced at the Awards Ceremony in the Saratoga Springs City Center at 6:30 pm. They will also have some fun kids events at the City Center like Balloon Gal Jenny (it's not me I swear) who will be twisting up balloons into fun, unique designs and face painting with JoJo's Fabulous Faces, both happening from 12 - 2pm.
- Some lines can be looooong, especially at those places that have been top chowder contenders in the past, but you can easily find some not so long lines, including places that have room to pop inside to warm up like Comfort Kitchen and Park Side Eatery. Treat it like a Scavenger Hunt for kids and have them collect their "Chowder Stamps" along the way. Use the map to find some good warm up spots like Northshire Bookstore and the Children's Museum. In general though the lines move pretty fast, these chowder guys are pros at dishing it out.
- If you are choosing between a baby carrier and a stroller, I vote baby carrier ALL THE WAY! The sidewalks get pretty crowded and it can be tricky navigating a stroller through the crowds. Broadway is NOT blocked off like it is during Victorian Streetwalk, so everyone is out on the sidewalks, and that includes lines for some Broadway restaurants.
- Not ALL participants are on Broadway! There are a bunch of other restaurants taking part in off Broadway locations, click here for the complete list.