Donning a grass skirt, an aquarium-themed bikini top and a lei, Beach Haven Terrace resident Pete Lawrence definitely had the theme of this year's Chowderfest - Clamaritaville - mastered.
Lawrence was there lobbying for his restaurant of choice, Howard's Restaurant, to win for their white chowder. "I am friends with the owner, and they have the best chowder," he told Patch.
Later in the day, it looked like Lawrence was right.
Howard's won Critic's Choice and the Grand Prize in this year's battle over New England. Stefano's Seafood and Pasta took the top prizes in the Manhattan category. A complete list of winners can be found here.
The rain or shine festivities began on Saturday,with a free Merchant Mart that featured end of season bargains, live music, costumed characters and food and beer available for purchase.
Then the Chowder Cook Off event took place earlier today, with 3400 gallons of chowder from: Bistro 14, CHEGG (Chicken or the Egg), Phillips Seafood, Red Dog Café, Southern Smoke, The Black Whale, Buckalew’s Tavern Stefano’s Seafood, Greenhouse Café, Country Kettle Chowda, TGI Fridays, Gourmet Deli, Howard’s, Four C’s Sons, Lefty’s Tavern in Barnegat, The Maine Course, Chart House, and Black Dog Café.
Lefty's owner, Lefteddy Sarapoulos told Patch today that he was "very happy" to participate. Even though Lefty's didn't win, he said he was very pleased with the positive feedback on his chowder. The restaurant brought 220 gallons of chowder with them to the festival.
Visitors to the event also shopped for exclusive Chowderwear merchandise like official Taster’s T Shirts, chowder hats and LBI Chowderfest Bracelet Beads.
Officials with the Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce also mentioned there were 24 entrants in their first "caddy contest." Carla Ciulla, of Carmel, NY was selected by the judges as this year’s favorite. Honorable Mentions went to Andrew Schuler of Collegeville, PA and Christianne Gadd of Bethlehem, PA.