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.