Get ready Chowderheads to enjoy endless samples of traditional and exotic “chowda” prepared by 21 competitors hailing from Rhode Island and as far away as Florida, Maine and even Ireland at the 35th Annual Great Chowder Cook-Off, scheduled for Saturday, June 18th, 2016 from noon – 6:00 p.m. on the North Lawn at Fort Adams State Park.

Last call for advanced $20 tickets is Friday, June 17th, get tickets on Ticketmaster HERE.


The original and longest-running chowder championship in the country will feature the recipes of award-winning chefs representing restaurants, catering companies, clam shacks, distributors, culinary schools and institutional dining facilities, as well as other fun ingredients including the Newport Oyster Festival, live music and a variety of entertainment for all ages.

“We are so excited to kick-off Rhode Island’s summer season in such a big way by featuring the most competitors we’ve had in years, a number of whom will be bringing their Great Chowder Cook-Off Hall of Fame recipes out of retirement for everyone to enjoy once again,” said Michele Maker Palmieri, President and CEO of Waterfront Productions, the parent company of Newport Waterfront Events.  
The highly anticipated competition for bragging rights and thousands in prize money and awards for the top three finishers in the “Clam”, “Seafood” and new “Best of the Best” categories is a fun-filled day for the chowder creators as well as the tasters.  Competing chefs carefully prepare 100 gallons of delicious chowder and serve samples of their sumptuous creations to the thousands of chowder loving festival attendees who also serve as judges.

Chowder lovers will be asked to come out of their shells at the Newport Oyster Festival which will be taking place alongside the Great Chowder Cook-Off at Fort Adams.  The best of local shellfish and seafood will once again be presented “farmers’ market style” by Matunuck Oyster Farm featuring delicious oyster varieties, a raw bar and lobster rolls as well as a full bar featuring Heineken, the official beer of the Great Chowder Cook-Off, as well as wine and spirits.  The Newport Oyster Festival Stage will feature Oyster 411 educational presentations, Oyster Shucking, Oyster Slurping and Beer Shucking Contests hosted by 94 HJY DJs and music by DJ Nook.

Admission to the Great Chowder Cook-Off also includes live rock, blues and reggae music from the Brian Scott Band, Big Cat Blues Band and The Ravers, the Stop & Shop Culinary Tent with the Great Chowder Cook-Off’s own Chef Timothy and a Stop & Shop nutritionist offering lively cooking demos using Stop & Shop Nature’s Promise brand and SeaWatch International Sea Clams, a Marketplace for the shoppers in the crowd and a variety of activities for the littlenecks, including face painting, a clam dig and balloon creations.  Aside from the endless chowder, there will be a variety of other food options for sale including Friskie Fries, Del’s Lemonade, Saugy’s, McGrath Clambakes & Catering, Ben & Jerry’s, Pizza Gourmet, Kettle Korn Express, Macray’s Seafood and delectables from Open Season Catering.

Those who will be participating in the Great Chowder Cook-Off are as follows:

Clam Category Dan’s Place, West Greenwich, RI; DiMare Seafood, East Greenwich, RI; Greenwich Bay Oyster Bar, East Greenwich, RI; Grid Iron Ale House, Warwick, RI; Luke’s Lobster/Hurricane Chowder, NY/Maine; McGrath Clambakes & Catering, Newport, RI; Open Season Catering, Warwick, RI; Tommy’s World Famous Clam Shack, Warwick, RI; Waxy’s, Brookline, MA; Zambarano Hospital, Pascoag, RI; and Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School Culinary Program, Taunton, MA*.

Seafood Category Bunratty Manor, County Clare, Ireland; Clifton Health Care Campus, Somerset, MA; Fire Works Catering, Providence, RI; MainSail at the Newport Marriott, Newport, RI; and The Boat Yard Bar & Grill, Newport, RI; Wharf Pub, Newport, RI; and Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School – Culinary Program, Taunton, MA*.

Best of the Best Category Davenport’s Restaurant, East Providence & Cumberland, RI; Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar, Newport, RI; and Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, Cedar Key, FL.
* Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School Culinary Program, Taunton, MA is competing in both the Clam and Seafood categories. This is the first time a competitor has attempted to participate in two categories in the same year.

Parking for the Great Chowder Cook-Off will be free but limited at Fort Adams State Park. Attendees are encouraged to contact Old Port Marine and the Jamestown Ferry regarding water shuttles to Fort Adams from both downtown Newport and Jamestown. Attendees can also “Bike to the Fort” sponsored by RIPTA’s Bike to Work Challenge. Please visit and click on “Venue Information” for more information.

The Great Chowder Cook-Off is offering a discounted advance ticket price of $20 through Friday, June 17th with the Saturday, June 18th day-of event ticket costing $25. Children are admitted free if under the age of 12 and accompanied by a paid adult.  To purchase tickets, please visit or order by phone by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.  Tickets can also be purchased as walk ups during business hours at the Newport Waterfront Events Box Office, 4 Commercial Wharf (on America’s Cup Avenue) in downtown Newport.

This year’s partners include Sea Watch, Stop & Shop, Heineken, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Rob Levine & Associates, Matunuck Oyster Farm, Discover Newport, WPRI 12/Fox Providence/The Rhode Show, I Heart Radio Providence – 94 HJY and Coast 93.3, What’s Up Newp, Fort Adams Trust and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.
For more information on the Great Chowder Cook-Off, please visit or contact the Newport Waterfront Events team at (888) 900-8640 or by email at  Also, follow Newport Waterfront Events on Instagram and Twitter and become a fan on Facebook at

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.