It’s time for chowder again! This year is the 16th year of Chowderfest. And Chowderfest Saratoga Springs 2014 is going to be awesome! Every year The Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau puts on one of the most fun, and successful, events in Saratoga! Every year more contestants create a chowder concoction for even more guests to try! This year there will be 85 different establishments serving chowder to over 25,000 people!
Serving begins Saturday at 11 and goes until 4. Chowder is $1 per sample and people can vote for different categories on a ballot they turn it at the end of the day. For more information on how it works click here. There is also a great article in The Saratogian
Of course we here at Impressions love being involved in all of the community events but we and a few of our friends take a different spin on it… DOG CHOWDER! Yes, we, Dawgdom, Sloppy Kisses, and this year’s new addition Milton Manor Pet Spa serve chowder for the pooches who venture out in the cold with their families. It is a great time for everyone!
Each year our personal chowder chef, Mare, comes up with a very meaty concoction that dogs go crazy for! Our dogs get to sample it early and Cookie sits in the kitchen drooling while Mare stirs her stew. Dave contributes through his hunting, almost always Mare is able to add some sort of wild game, like venison, that the dogs go crazy for! Unlike the other chowders served throughout Saratoga ours is served at room temperate and has very few veggies or grains, it is a big meat mash up! I am a vegetarian so I just serves it on the day, but I try to avoid that too and I’m always willing to be the photographer! You can see last year’s pictures on our facebook page.
Dogs line up for their sample, each is topped with a fresh dog treat from The Bread Basket Bakery, which dogs go crazy for on their own! We always host The Saratoga County Animal Shelter as well. All of the proceeds, or any extra donations we may get, go to the Saratoga County Animal Shelter. This year they will be serving water and Hot Coco too. They usually bring lots of information about different pets that are available and events that are happening at the shelter, the street is a little too busy to bring animals down, plus it is cold!
Throughout the day we serve chowder to our four legged friends and take photos for our doggie wall and Facebook but the real event for us is at 1 pm at the Downtowner Hotel. When the mayor’s dog, gets to “judge” the chowders. This year it will be our new mayor Joanne Yepsen’s dog. She is very excited to have her dog be a part of the fun, though I bet our now retired mayor Scott Johnson’s dogs are not happy about this role change! Each of the dog chowder participants puts a large bowl of their chowder down for the dog to sniff, the dog is walked up to each one and then walked away (sometimes dragged). Then they are let loose, which ever chowder they choose to go back to and stay at to gobble up is the winner! It is a lot of fun! The prize is not only the bragging rights, but a framed certificate and a trophy! The trophy has all of the past winners on it:
2008: Impressions of Saratoga
2009: Impressions of Saratoga
2012: Sloppy Kisses
2013: Impressions of Saratoga
This year we have named our chowder “Crazy Cookie’s Canine Chowder” after Mare’s dog Cookie. It is always hard to choose a name. Last year we named it after our beloved friend Corey, a golden retriever, who had passed away right before. And in the past we have used our other dog’s names. All of the ingredients are human grade and if we have enough we allow the humans to try it too, and they don’t have to eat it on the ground like the dogs do! Though sometimes we don’t have spoons. You wouldn’t believe how many people want the dog treat too! People who can’t bring their dogs downtown like to bring home a little sample for their pooches to have for dinner. Some dogs try to eat the entire crock pot. But very few turn it down!
For the humans we sell the official CHUGS. Which are CHowder mUGS… CH+UGS=CHUGS! They are a microwave/dishwasher safe mug that has a lid, a sipping spout, and a spoon that clips on the top! You can take your CHUG with you to each establichment and they will give you a sample or you can save your CHUG to use at home. Some people use it to take one chowder home with them for later. I use mine in the mornings for my fruit and yogurt, they’re perfect for that. They are always limited so people usually come in to get them early and we sell out on the day of. You can order one online too!
So stop down to see us on Saturday. We will be bundled up outside with chowder, CHUGS, The Animal Shelter, and lots of DOGS! We are looking forward to another great year! You don’t want to miss out on this fun event!