Clam Chowder Bash: Now a Full Weekend

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk tradition expands in 2017.

THE TRUE TRICK TO A TASTY CHOWDER... experience isn't about Manhattan vs. New England or lots of clams vs. a few or a brothier liquid vs. a creamier base. Rather, you want to always make sure you have enough oyster crackers to finish your cup and bowl, with one or two crackers per spoonful of clam chowder (that's the general standard, but to each her own). Because should you gobble up all of your oyster crackers with several more ounces of chowder to go, or if you should have nothing but crackers at the end... Oof. Balance was not obtained, and you'll be left wishing for more of the thing you need. Wishing for just a bit more, though, is kind of a calling when it comes to chowder devotion, for the chowderist is always seeking one more spicy spoonful, one more briny sample, one more, one more. Well, that "one more" gift is arriving in Santa Cruz in 2017, and it comes not in the form of more chowder in the bowl, or more oyster crackers, but a whole second day added on to one of the state's best known chowder celebrations. We speak of the...

CLAM CHOWDER COOK-OFF AND FESTIVAL... and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It's marking its 36th go-around with something pretty special: An entire weekend of chowder deliciousness (and not just a day). That weekend is Feb. 25 and 26, 2017, and costume-rocking teams will once again be out stirring up the smoothest of sippable, spoonable, clammable concoctions. Amateur outfits are creating chowder magic on Saturday, the pros go on Sunday, and the essential tasting kit you'll need is ten bucks (which nets you six tastes, the method to taste them — cup/spoon — and a way to vote for your favorite). Do you make a mouthwatering Manhattan or a blissful Boston? You and your team can enter. Or simply show as someone ready to appreciate a dish that seems even more delicious when eaten steps from the ocean. Can you try, though, to make sure you have enough crackers for the amount of chowder you eat? It's a delightful challenge, one all devoted chowderians know all too well.

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