One day ahead of the big game, the "super bowl of chowder" returns to the Spa City. Our Matt Hunter offers a few tips on how you can best prepare for Saratoga's Chowderfest.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – A Saratoga Springs native, Ashley Dingeman, will weave through a downtown crowd of more than 30,000 on Saturday at the city's 18th annual Chowderfest.
"I create a little map for myself, and it is always adjusted on the day of," Dingeman says. "I definitely can't try 85 or more chowders, but the past two years, I have tried to get to 20 chowders, and last year I was successful on that, and this year I am hoping to be successful again."
"For the people who can't be here the day of, I try to give them the experience through me," said Dingeman, who launched the blog and partnering social media accounts nearly five years ago.
"I think it just builds upon itself each year," Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau President Todd Garofano said.
With warm weather expected, the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau planned for even larger crowds than normal.
"We are hoping we will see more families,” Garofano said. “We have really pushed our free Park and Ride system, both from the [Saratoga] Casino and Raceway and from Wilton Mall, just to try to ease that traffic congestion and parking."
"As the restaurants and chefs experience it, it really becomes a big competition for them," Garofano said.
"I think a lot of the local chefs now see Chowderfest as a way to represent their restaurant,” Dingeman said. “It's a way for them to get creative and try something different."
At $1 a piece, hundreds of thousands of samples will go down the hatch. For even a passionate food lover like Dingeman, it's about more than the tasty winter treat.
"It's a celebration of chowder, but it's also just a celebration of the city and the liveliness that we have here," Dingeman said.