The Chowdafest in Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena Sunday will feature 32 restaurants and an estimated 10,000 soup and chowder lovers, and Rich Messier of Madison, the owner of the beloved High Tide food truck will be there competing.
Rich will be competing in the soup/bisque category with his Chicken Marsala Soup. Other entries in that category include Buffalo Chicken Soup, several versions of Lobster Bisque, a Senegalese Peanut Soup, a Cream of Chicken Chipotle Soup, and a Venezualean Corn and Bacon Bisque.
Rich says he hopes to do well, but that he was pleased just to be invited. He was one of only a few food trucks invited, and the rest of the entrants are from the Fairfield and Greenwich area, making him the only contender from this part of the shoreline. Rich says the event started four years ago in the basement of a church in Westport and that it got so big that it has moved to Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
What started as a tiny event that featured some local restaurants’ soups and chowders with just 400 people attending, soon turned into an event at Bedford Middle School that featured many different CT restaurants and had about 5,000 people attend. That’s some big growth, especially when you consider that the attendance for last year’s event was 40% more than Chowdafest 3. Put in different terms, there were 600 gallons of chowder and soup served with almost 50% more money raised for the Connecticut Food Bank from the proceeds. Believe it or not, Chowdafest 4 (2012) was so well attended that they had to turn 1,000 people away because of being over-capacity and parking limitations.
They won't have to turn people away this year, organizers say, because Webster Bank Arena is so large. Tickets are reasonably priced at $10 each and a non-perishable food item for the Connecticut Food Bank.
Rich says the best part of the competition is that it benefits the food bank. Rich says he was the last one to be invited, and that he got the last slot, and that he's happy to be going.
"There are four categories, including clam chowder, but you can only eat so much clam chowder," he said. "I'm doing my Chicken Marsala soup. I've had good success with that. We'll see how I do. I'm hoping I do rather well."
"My Chicken Marsala is outstanding, so I made it into a a soup" said Rich. "Some people are getting a little creative and crazy with their soups. I'm going the old simple, stupid route."
Rich has to pay $100 to participate and is donate the soup. But he says he doesn't mind because it's for the Connecticut Food Bank. "That's the main thing. If I win or don't win, the good thing is that it's for a really good cause."
"SOUP'er Bowl Sunday
Sunday Feb. 3, 2013
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Come join us early - then enjoy the Super Bowl (kick-off is at 6:30)
Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard
600 Main Street - Conveniently at the bottom of exit 27 off I-95
It's just 20 minutes from most anywhere (or about 40 from Madison).
Adults are $10
Kids 6-12 are just $5, five years or younger FREE
Tickets available at the box office
WHAT TO BRING?
Besides your appetite, please bring family and friends.....
NON-PERISHABLE FOOD DONATIONS WILL BE COLLECTED!
Those bringing these items will be entered into a raffle for a $200
Stop and Shop gift certificate - thank you!!
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE IF YOU CAN'T ATTEND
We hope you can make this fantastic event but if you can't and still want to make a difference:
You can send a check for any amount to:
CT Food Bank c/o Chowdafest 10 Lyons Plain Road Westport, CT 06880