Completes 10th Annual Event

How would you like to serve as many as 2,500 people in three hours? That’s what the DNB, Inc. vendors do at the annual Downtown New Bedford, Inc. Seaport Chowder Festival. And they do it with cheer, often exchanging a few words with their customers. A little more spacious tent this year made it easier and more enjoyable for the crowd, but still, feeding 2,500 people in such a short time is an enormous achievement. So thanks to all of the vendors for participating, and be sure to try them out. They are:

As usual, clam chowder drew the most entries, with The Black Whale repeating as first place winners for both the People’s Choice and the Judges Choice. The signature soup category has become increasingly popular with imaginative entries like carrot ginger, butternut squash bisque, and caldo verde. Vendors report serving 15 – 20 gallons of each chowder and soup. Pa Raffa’s served 1,500 of their first place stuffed quahogs.



Clam chowder

Clam chowder

1. The Black Whale ($1,000 cash prize)

1. The Black Whale

2. Seaport Inn Grill & Marina

2. Slack’s Oyster House & Grill

3. Me & Ed’s Restaurant

3. Seaport Inn Grill & Marina

Seafood chowder

Seafood chowder

1. Fay’s Restaurant & Catering ($500 cash prize)

1. Freestone’s City Grill

2. Freestone’s City Grill

2. Fay’s Restaurant & Catering

Kale soup

Kale soup

1. Tia Maria’s European Café ($250 cash prize)

1. EJ’s Restaurant & Deli

2. Autumn Glen

2. Tia Maria’s European Café

3. EJ’s Restaurant & Deli

3. Autumn Glen

Signature soup

Signature soups

1. Cove Surf & Turf ($250 cash prize)

1. Brazilian Grill

2. Brookdale

2. Olive Garden

3. Mary’s Restaurant

3. Brookdale

Stuffed quahogs

Stuffed quahogs

1. Brookdale ($500 cash prize)

1. Pa Raffa’s Italian Restaurant

2. EJ’s Restaurant & Deli

2. Brookdale

3. Pa Raffa’s Italian Restaurant

3. EJ’s Restaurant & Deli

Table presentation

1. Brookdale

2. Autumn Glen

3. Pasta House

Cork Wine and Tapas exemplified Kevin Pelland’s often repeated statement that “Everyone here is a winner” by entering a broth based Rhode Island chowder that, as good as it was, was probably not going to be the first choice of the people or judges in a city that loves its milk and cream based chowders.

An enjoyable part of the festival comes near the end as things quiet down. That’s when the vendors get a chance to visit with each other and sample each other’s wares. It truly is a friendly competition. No one is more expert at judging chowders and soups than those who make them.

Besides the vendors in the tent, there was a lot of activity outside. The YMCA holds its increasingly popular lobster races. Lobsters, it turns out, would probably not last too long on a Bill Bellichick team, since they don’t follow the “Do your job” mantra too well and are prone to stopping halfway down the race track. On one of Bill’s team that might lead the racer straight to the dinner table, but the New Bedford fans who cheer for their favorites don’t seem to mind when their picks rest for a moment, and the lobsters have been promised a return trip to the sea.


This year’s cold and especially wind brought some special challenges. The BaHa Brothers Band entertained throughout the afternoon, playing at times to rows of empty chairs as people took to the tent for comparative warmth while listening to the music. Kudos to them for performing as if the chairs were filled.

The Global Learning Charter School did face painting. Various vendors, including Crush Wine Shop and the Cocktail Guru provided beverages. Kettle corn has become a Festival staple, this year provided by Poppin’ Mad Kettle Corn. Suk Gould from Cafe Arpeggio provided ice cream and cookies. New Bedford’s antique fire truck provided rides around the city.

Some of the volunteers, like those who sell tickets, and empty trash barrels, spent the entire afternoon outside. It was chilly at first and then downright cold when the sun went in. Special thanks to them for staying with their jobs.

And thank you to all of our sponsors. The Chowder Festival could not go on without them.

Thank you to the Chowder Festival Planning Committee
Richard Poyant-Chairman of the Event, Poyant Signs, Inc.; Kevin T. Pelland-Co-Chairman - BayCoast Bank; Casey Cole-Vieira-Law Office of Joseph Michaud; Ben Couto–JP Progressive Communications Group/Reynolds DeWalt; Dawn Ferreira - First Citizens' Federal Credit Union; Modesta Levesque – Standard Times/SouthCoast Media Group; David Medeiros - Bristol County Savings Bank; Tara Pacheco – New Bedford YMCA; Jill White – Sylvia Group; Diane Arsenault - DNB, Inc. Executive Director; Marianne Conley Hodgson - DNB, Inc. Administrative Assistant; Sally Spooner – Staff Photographer

Thank you to the following sponsors who have made this event possible:
Downtown New Bedford, Inc.
PLATINUM SPONSOR - Sea Watch International
GOLD SPONSORS: Aarsheim Fishing Corp. ; Bristol Community College; Claremont Corporation; CliftonLarsonAllen CPA's; Eversource; Hygrade Ocean Products; Standard Times/SouthCoast Media Group
SILVER SPONSORS: Bristol County Savings Bank; Dias, Lapalme & Martin LLP; Eastern Fisheries; First Citizen’s Federal Credit Union; Greater New Bedford Community Health Center; Hunter and Kathryn Marie Scalloping Co.; Sylvia Group
ASSOCIATE SPONSOR: Debross Hathaway Marvel, Inc.; Rockland Trust; Sea Fuels Marine Services; Saint Anne Credit Union
SERVICE SPONSORS: City of New Bedford/Harbor Development Commission; NB Global Learning Charter School; Poyant Signs, Inc.; JP Progressive Communications Group/Reynolds DeWalt; Sheriff Thomas Hodgson

Downtown New Bedford, Inc.