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A Long Running Celebration of Chowder in Newport

Newport, Rhode Island, has been a go-to destination for travelers for roughly 375 years, earning its nickname of America's First Resort. The city's location on Aquidneck Island makes it the ideal place for yachting, fishing, sailing, and any watersport you can imagine. From watching the sunset on one of the island's pristine beaches to taking a helicopter tour of the island's historical sites, Newport is perfect for your next coastal getaway.


The Great Chowder Cook-Off is one of the top summer culinary events in Rhode Island, and will take place June 10 at Fort Adams State Park. It’s the longest running event of its kind, beginning more than three and a half decades ago. Teams from RI to Ireland will enter chowder recipes into the competition categories including seafood chowder, clam chowder, and red chowder. Winners in each category will receive $2,000, and each entry will have the chance to participate in the Most Spirited Team and Best Decorated Booth contests. The competitions also extend to other categories like oyster shucking and slurping, as well as beer shucking (opening glass bottle beer tops as fast as possible). Great local bands will perform music throughout the event, representing the blues, rock, reggae and more. Kids 12 and under can enter free with paying adult, and a children's area will feature face painting, balloon creations, games, and more. We got the chance to interview Michele Maker Palmieri, Founder/CEO of RI Waterfront Events, to learn about this chowder extravaganza.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

MMP: This will be the event’s 36th year.


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?

MMP: Approximately 7,000 throughout the day.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?

MMP: A little bit of everything! We get a very diverse crowd at this event.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

MMP: The Great Chowder Cook-Off is unique because guests get to enjoy endless samples of chowder and then decide who the champions are! There are several categories such as Seafood Chowder, Clam Chowder, a new class this year Red Chowder. Teams can also win awards for the Best Decorated Booth and Most Spirited Team. The event has something for everyone – great food, music, kids activities, and of course a beautiful view of Newport Harbor at historic Fort Adams State Park!


RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.

MMP: Sponsor sampling and activities including culinary demos, mini competitions and games for guests, live music all day, kids activities, and more.


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

MMP: Local TV and radio hosts will host the contests and awards ceremony.


RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?

MMP: Along with endless chowder samples from all of the competitors there will also be additional food for purchase such as lobster rolls, hamburgers, and other treats! Additionally, there will be several bar locations at the event featuring beer, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic offerings.


RAL: What is the environment like?

MMP: Guests can relax and enjoy a summer day outside at historic Fort Adams State Park with panoramic views of Newport Harbor.


RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?

MMP: Travelers will find every type of accommodation in and around Newport from Bed & Breakfast’s to chain hotels. Guests can check out Discover Newport for a comprehensive list!


Local accommodations are at max occupancy most weekends from June through September.


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

MMP: Newport has been home to the Great Chowder Cook-Off for 36 years, and many locals and their families return each year. The event is a kick-off to Rhode Island’s summer festivities and an annual state tradition.


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

MMP: Yes, with over 7,000 attendees at the event each year as well as competitors, sponsors, and others, the Great Chowder Cook-Off has a very positive impact on the majority of establishments in Newport.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

MMP: The Great Chowder Cook-Off provides something for everyone and only for $20 (if purchased in advance)!


For more information about the Great Chowder Cook-Off, please visit the event website.