Autumn Gold Chowderfest judges named

ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the judges for the 22nd Annual Autumn Gold Chowderfest at Harbor Park. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 28, at 11:30 a.m. on Ellsworth’s waterfront under the big Autumn Gold tent.

This year’s judges are Patty Boles of Coastal Auto Parts/NAPA, Jeff Solari of Sports Chowdah and Doug Alley, award-winning Food Network chef.

“We reserve one judge seat for the winner of the Chamber Top Drawer award for the year, and then try to have someone from the cooking/food field, as well as a media person,” Chamber Director Gretchen Wilson explained.

The three-judge panel will select its favorite among the chowder entries. The taste test is done “blind” as the judges are brought samples of all the chowders without being told who made them.

Solari is the lead “cook” of the weekly sports email blast called Sports Chowdah, which is sent to 10,000 readers each Monday. Solari began sports broadcasting during high school at WDEA radio in Ellsworth. After graduating from college, he became a sports anchor at WLBZ with Dale Duff and Lee Goldberg. He returned to radio and has worked with WZON, hosting “The Shootaround.” Solari currently hosts a weekly segment on WABI TV 5 called “Jeff’s Take,” where he gives weekly sports opinions.

Alley is a native of Beals. He graduated from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I. He is an accomplished chef with accolades such as Food Network winner, Ika Hoga Germany Culinary Olympics gold, Boston and Miami ASF Food Show gold and published in ArtCulinaire. He was host of PBS “Thyme in the Kitchen with Chef Doug” and ABC WMBB culinary correspondent. He has worked at Walt Disney World, TrustHouse Forte, London, and owned catering company Fancy Tomato. He now owns a business called PattiCakes. Alley and his family reside in Rhode Island.

Boles is the matriarch of the Boles family, who own the Top Drawer award-winning Coastal Auto Parts NAPA stores in Ellsworth and across Maine. Boles assisted her husband, Fay, in getting the business off the ground, helping with bookkeeping and raising their four children: Michael, Marcia, Christopher and Matthew, who are now running the business full time. Patty and Fay enjoy winters off from Maine in the Fort Myers area. Patty has always enjoyed Downeast home cooking for her large family.

The crowd, too, will have its say at Chowderfest, casting votes for the People’s Choice. Using a score sheet, they come up with a winner, but only find out after the results are announced who made the chowder they have chosen. Computer Essentials helps tabulate the results.

The Chamber also is offering a $2,500 Jumbo Jackpot cash prize as part of Autumn Gold Days, Sept. 27-29. Only 500 of the $10 tickets will be sold.

Jumbo Jackpot tickets will be available at Chamber events through Autumn Gold Saturday or until they sell out. The drawing will be on Monday, Sept. 30, at noon. Entrants do not have to be present to win. All remaining proceeds from the Jumbo Jackpot sales will go toward the Chamber’s educational programs, including the Hancock County Business Conference and Taking Care of Business forums.

For more information on Autumn Gold and Jumbo Jackpot, visit or call 667-5584.

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