Thousands pack Saratoga Springs for Chowderfest

February 03, 2018 06:20 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Before all the eating and drinking it’s important to get a little exercise. The staff at Vent Fitness was pumped up for Chowderfest 2018.

The 20th annual version had ‘em lining up well in advance of the official 11 a.m. start.

Druthers planned to serve up 6,000 three-ounce cups of Southern Corn Chowder with hush puppies created by executive chef Mike Spain.

“It’s rewarding. It’s a lot of work, but then I get to be here and watch everybody eat some chowder," Spain said.

Unfazed by cold weather and a brisk wind, Ryan and Mary Travis of Ballston Lake were the first to get some.

“You gotta have the cold. You warm up with the chowder, plus the colder it gets it keeps a few people away," said Ryan Travis.

It didn’t keep many away. Cantina was scooping up its chorizo corn chowder as fast as they could. Organizers were expecting as many as 35,000 people including Toni Groff and Dana Campbell who’ve been to the last five Chowderfests.

“It’s just fun. It’s just a fun day out with our friends. You make new friends waiting in line. Watch people. Everybody’s happy," Dana Campbell said.

And police want to keep it that way. They have two-legged and four-legged officers making sure everyone’s safe, especially after the chowder’s all gone.

The official schedule called for chowder to stop being served at 4 p.m. Saturday but the party goes on all night.

“In festivities like this, you don’t know what can happen. People lose a little bit of self-control and we’re here to make sure they get home safely and if they decide to act out or make some poor choices, we’ll do what we have to do," said Lt. Bob Jillson of the Saratoga Springs Police Department.

Police say most chowder fans are well behaved. They look forward all year to getting outside with friends and digging in.

“We just love chowder and then going out and being social," added Mary Travis.

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WNYT Staff

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