Port of Olympia relaunches Swantown Marina Boatswap & Chowder Challenge

Staff WriterMay 16, 2013 

FOOD RONNEN LA

Pony up $5 to serve as a judge in Saturday's relaunch of the popular Swantown Marina Boatswap & Chowder Challenge, put on by the Port of Olympia.

GLENN KOENIG — MCT

  • SWANTOWN MARINA BOATSWAP & CHOWDER CHALLENGE

    When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

    Chowder served: 12:30-2 p.m

    Where: Swantown Marina, 1022 Marine Drive NE, Olympia

    Admission: Free (chowder samples and mug: $5)

    Information: 360-528-8000, portolympia.com

    PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS

    Fatso’s Bar & Grill

    FireCreek Grill

    Fish Tale Brew Pub

    Hawk’s Prairie Casino

    Lucky Eagle Casino

    Nisqually Red Wind Casino

    Paprika Café & Catering

    Red Lion Hotel’s West Water View Restaurant

    South Bay Pub and Eatery

    The Sidewalk Cafe

    Tugboat Annies

    Vern’s Foods and Farm

The chowder is back on the stove.

After a five-year hiatus, the Swantown Marina Boatswap & Chowder Challenge returns to Olympia on Saturday.

A dozen local restaurants will present their variations of the classic seafood soup alongside sales of boats and marine gear.

Construction at and near the marina greatly reduced parking in the area and led to the cancellation of the 11-year-old event in 2008.

“But the phone calls never stopped coming about it. It was a really popular event,” said Kathleen White, the communications and government relations manager for the Port of Olympia. In the past, the event attracted as many as 5,000 attendees, with about 1,400 sampling the chowders, she said.

With construction now complete, free parking is available along Marine Drive.

Free shuttle buses provided by local casinos will ferry attendees to the marina. The restaurants will be cooking and serving clam chowder from 12:30-2 p.m.

Attendees can purchase a souvenir chowder mug for $5 to sample any or all of the 12 chowders.

The mug also comes with a token that chowder hounds can use to vote for “South Sound’s Finest Clam Chowder.”

Awards to the top three chowder-making restaurants will be presented at 2:15 p.m.

All participating restaurants regularly carry clam chowder on their menus, White said. But if chowder’s not your dish, non-chowder food booths will have options at an additional cost.

The Boatswap aspect of the event features new and used boats, and marine gear.

“Some of the boats are on the water, some are on the land,” White said.

Activities for kids include a bounce house, trout fishing and face painting. Classic rock ’n’ roll and dance music will be provided by Western Washington band Raucous.

The event has several sponsors and the port itself sponsors other local events but “this is the one event that the Port fully puts on for the community. We’ve really been happy to reinstate it,” White said.

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