ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the judges and chefs for the annual Autumn Gold Chowderfest, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 22, at Harbor Park.
“The Chowderfest, is one of the chamber’s signature Autumn Gold events,” said Gretchen Wilson, the chamber’s executive director. “Close to 400 people come to taste and vote for their favorite chowders; it’s truly become a favorite for Autumn Gold”
Besides the “People’s Choice” for best chowders, the chamber invites three area individuals to be “celebrity judges” for the day, and award the Judges Choice.
This year’s judges are Stu Marckoon, morning news host at STAR 97.7, Kevin Schneider, superintendent of Acadia National Park, and Peter Farragher, director of the Down East Family YMCA.
Marckoon also works for the town of Lamoine, and is often spotted as a referee at local school sports competitions. Schneider, who says he “loves chowder!” began his duties at Acadia in 2016, after working at several Western national parks. Farragher leads the Down East Family YMCA, which was the chamber’s 2018 Top Drawer Award recipient.
The judges are given chowders to taste with no knowledge of which business/chef prepared it. To assist them, a score sheet, created by a local chef, is used to determine the winners.
The chamber allows nine local businesses to compete in the Clam and Open Chowder divisions. This year’s businesses/chefs are Airline Brewing Co. (Chef Scott Feeney); Atlantic Oceanside (Chef John Oudheuseden); Bar Harbor Catering Co. (Chef Mandy Fountaine), Big Cat’s Catering Co. (Chef Alex Grant); Flexit Café (Chef Paul Markosian); Governor’s Restaurant (Chef Avery Sawyer); Maine Coast Memorial Hospital (Chef David Hobbs); Seaport Village Health Care (Chef Nicole Weaver) and Union River Lobster Pot (Chef Brian Langley).
Chowderfest begins at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Harbor Park. Admission is $10 per person and $5 for children under 12.
New this year are pre-sale tickets for $7.50 for adults, available in the chamber office at 163 High St. or online at www.ellsworthchamber.org.
Chowderfest will also host singer Bobbi Lane and the Ellsworth High School Show Choir. Hancock County Technical Center students will offer grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and other treats, for those who don’t want chowder.
Parking at the waterfront is limited, but Autumn Gold shuttle buses will run from all the venues from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Shuttle stops will include the City Hall parking lot and RF Jordan parking lot as well.
For more information on Autumn Gold events, visit www.ellsworthchamber.org or call the chamber at 667-5584.