[caption id="attachment_771" align="alignleft" width="300"]The Lilian's staff with an impressive chowder spread The Lilian's staff with an impressive chowder spread[/caption] Chowderfest has been around for 17 years now, many of you come to it every year and enjoy all of the wonderful concoctions Saratoga restaurants come up with. But for Connie Crudo from the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau there is a lot more to think about that which line to stand in on Saturday January 31. A Bit about Connie:connie Connie Crudo is the Manager – Membership Sales and Service at the Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau. She joined the Bureau in October 2007. Connie is responsible for attracting new members and retaining the members the Bureau currently has. Connie organizes Bureau sponsored events, such as Chowderfest and Restaurant Week. Connie is a member of Destination Marketing Association International and attends Saratoga, Southern Saratoga and Adirondack Chamber events. Some Questions for Connie: What inspired Chowderfest to start? [caption id="attachment_769" align="alignleft" width="150"]A crowd of "chowder heads" enjoying a past Chowderfest A crowd of "chowder heads" enjoying a past Chowderfest[/caption] Chowderfest started as a way for the Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau to get involved in Winterfest, with the goal of driving people and business into our restaurants, retail shops, and lodging properties during a typically slow time of year.  As John Baker from Gaffney’s can tell you, for him it started with a crock pot at the end of the bar.  The first year there were 10 locations that sold chowder.  This year there are 90!  What do you do for the Bureau and Chowderfest? The Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau is a not-for-profit, membership based organization with the mission of bringing Conventions, Trade Shows, Sporting Events, Group Tour and Destination Weddings to the Saratoga Area.  I am the Manager of Membership Sales and Service.  For Chowderfest I am responsible for getting the participating restaurants signed up, the sponsors signed up, and working out the logistics and details of the event.  We have a great staff and everyone pitches in to make Chowderfest one of, if not the most popular event in Saratoga!   What is your favorite part about it? I love to see how it grows from year to year.  This is my 8th Chowderfest [caption id="attachment_770" align="alignright" width="300"]Happily waiting in line with CHUGS Happily waiting in line with CHUGS[/caption] and it has grown into this massive, fun, family friendly event that we are all so proud of.  We work hard but seeing how much fun people are having during Chowderfest makes it worth it.    What is something that your fans may not know about you? Before my first Chowderfest, I had never tried chowder.  I am a picky eater and didn't like the look of it!    Join Connie, the rest of the Saratoga Convention Bureau, and all of Downtown Saratoga on January 31 from 11 to 4. Impressions has partnered with Dawgdom this year to create our best doggie chowder yet "Pupa's Pot Roast Chowder". samples Thank you Connie for being our first guest blogger and giving us an inside look at one of Saratoga's favorite events!