Annual Chowder & Chili cook-off and harvest festival was a great success

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Jessica Fuller was the first place winner of the chili category. Photo by Alan Fowler

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt.– At noon on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, the Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce held their 3rd annual Chowder and Chili Cook-off at the Windham Hotel and Popolo’s in Bellows Falls. Ballots were sold at the entrance of the hotel and the tasters were sent on a delicious journey through the participating businesses in the downtown area.

At the Windham Hotel, Doreen Stoodley, executive director of the Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce, served her own chili recipe. Beside Stoodley was the AIM after school group, the Learning Kitchen, with chowder made by the Bellows Falls Middle School kids. Pat Fowler at the Village Square Booksellers served Grandma Nellie’s Manhattan Clam Chowder. Bellows Falls local Brian Lescord with a venison chili. “I saw the ad in the paper and thought ‘hey, why not?’” Lescord said about his entry.

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Jewelz was first place chowder winner for the second time. She’s accepting her award from executive director Doreen Stoodley. Photo by Kristine M. Burpee

Popolo’s rabbit chowder took second place in its category. For the second year in row, Jewelz, from Jamaican Jewelz, won first place for her seafood chowder. Jessica Fuller, a financial advisor for Edward Jones, sat a booth by Pat Fowler in the bookstore and took first place in the chili category. Many of the tasters commented on Fuller’s beautiful presentation.

Deb Wright, Green Mountain Traffic Control, was stationed at the Saxtons River Artisans Cooperative with her family recipe: Smokey Mountain Corn Chowder. John Wright from Cafe 7 was participating in both categories with his house chili and Reuben chowder. Wright’s Reuben chowder came in third place, and his house chili came in second for their respective categories. Shona also had two dishes. The staff served the chili at Shona’s Grill, while Kim Bovill served her veggie chowder at Windham Antiques.

Outside of the bookstore, the Gem Starz Booster Club sold cotton candy to raise money for the girls’ team.

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Gem Starz selling cotton candy at their booth. Photo by Kristine M. Burpee.

While many local residents were present, many out-of-state tasters were present. There were people from Keene, N.H., a couple from Montana visiting fiends, and one couple from Deerfield, Conn. who said, “We were just driving through town. We noticed all the commotion and decided to stop. It was a lot of fun.”

Back at the hotel, musicians Mark and Cynthia Herron filled the air with light music. Carmel apples, cider donuts, and apple cider were available, and the Shop Local program began with Mary Helen Hawthorne handing out the stamp cards. A 50/50 drawing took place and at the end Kim Coleman was the big winner.

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