On Saturday, June 1, the 29th Annual WOKQ Chowder Festival took place at Portsmouth’s Prescott Park. The festival was zero-waste, courtesy of the partnership between the Prescott Park Arts Festival and seacoast business Eco-Movement.
“It’s a well-loved tradition,” said festival coordinator Ben Anderson. “People come from all over. The restaurants take it very seriously.”
Seacoast restaurants including Bob’s Clam Hut, Warren’s Restaurant, Newick’s Lobster House, and The Portsmouth Brewery competed with chowders of every type, including seafood, clam, scallop, and veggie.
The festival draws approximately 4,000 people each year, and Anderson said he believed the turnout would be the same this year, even with the weekend heat wave.
“We’re expecting a greater turnout and greater ice cream consumption,” Anderson said.
This marks the third year that Prescott Park will be collaborating with Seacoast composting company EcoMovement to make sure the festival is zero-waste. EcoMovement provided the festival with compostable bowls and the festival also used metal cutlery instead of plastic.
“It’s an important partnership for us, we’re diverting all that waste,” said Anderson, who noted the bowls would be composted into soil for Prescott Park’s flower beds.
This year, the festival featured a new People’s Choice winner for the “Best Chowder,” in addition to the existing categories of Best Booth and Judges Choice. The winner of the People’s Choice Award was Warren's Restaurant in Kittery, M.E. The restaurant's Lobster and Clam Chowder received the all-new Golden Ladle Trophy. Judge's Choice was won by Zampa Restaurant in Epping for their Smoked Haddock and Chive Oil Chowder, and Best Booth was won by Billy's Chowder House from Wells, M.E.