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Thousands Pack Beach Haven Streets For Annual ChowderFest

Sunday was the 25th anniversary of the LBI "Souper Bowl"

Yvonne Mooney, Ship Bottom and Kathy Hansler, South Carolina, get into the spirit at Chowderfest on Sunday
Yvonne Mooney, Ship Bottom and Kathy Hansler, South Carolina, get into the spirit at Chowderfest on Sunday

The fog of early morning had burned off by 10 a.m., as employees of 19 area restaurants began to ladle out the best they had for Chowderfest 2013.

"Each restaurant had to make 200 gallons of chowder," said Lori Pepenella. "They serve all day long."

Long Beach Boulevard and most of the streets in Beach Haven were crammed with cars and trucks. The sun began to blaze and it could have been any summer weekend at the shore.

Visitors headed for the white tents - one red for Manhattan, one white for New England - to see which had the best chowder.

Sunday's event - held near Bay Village - was also dubbed the "LBI Souper Bowl 2013," by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce.

Last year's Chowderfest drew roughly 13,000 visitors and this year's attendance might be close to that, judging by the size of the crowds, said chamber Marketing Director Lori A. Pepenella.

And that was good news, considering it's been less than a year since Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Jersey Shore. This was the 25th anniversary of the event, which helps support the Chamber of Commerce, provides funds for scholarships and other volunteer organizations.

"This is the thing that holds the community together," she said. "People are looking for a consistent event."

Yvonne Mooney, Ship Bottom, and Kathy Hansler, South Carolina, were decked out in a clam hat and lobster hat, respectively.

"It's a great time," said Mooney, who comes every year. "I hate to let go of the summer."

Visitors who purchased VIP tickets for $50 to get into the red and white tasting tents an hour earlier, and receive a T-shirt, Randazzo said. 

Regular tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Both tickets entitled visitors to unlimited chowder tasting. By noon, the grass was littered with plastic spoons and small cups.

The event also featured a food tent with hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage and pepper sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, clams on the half shell, beer and ice cream, Randazzo said.

The closing ceremonies for Chowderfest included a dedication to longtime coordinator and Southern Regional Chamber of Commerce board member Frank Panzone, Jr., who died last year. The ball field will be renamed in his honor.

For a list of the winners in each category, go to www.chowderfest.com.

proud October 06, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Was a bra burning competition part of the festivities?
Joey Joe October 06, 2013 at 09:32 PM
@proud - yeah looks like it --- wow !!! Gravity is a beeeeotch huh!!!

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