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11th annual Chowder Cook-Off Hosted on the Ithaca Commons

  • 01:17 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    The 11th annual Winter Lights festival kicked off on Dec. 3, 2021 with a dance party. Today, the main event is the annual Chowder Cook-Off! Many stores from the area like Gorgers and Red's Place are preparing Chowder to enter into the competition!

  • 01:23 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    Participants can buy tickets which can be redeemed for a bowl of Chowder at stands like this. After trying the food, participants can vote on which Chowder they liked the best.

  • 01:29 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    Chowder connoisseurs can cast their votes online and vote in categories like best Meat Chowder, Best Seafood Chowder and Best Veggie Chowder. Due to Covid concerns, the poll was opened early to allow participants to avoid the crowds by eating early

  • 01:31 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    Guests were encouraged to bring their own mug and spoon to be more eco-friendly. Looking around the Commons, most people brought their own cups

  • 01:36 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    In addition to the Chowder stalls local vendors like Avital's Apiaries and Steinhaus Farm have set up their own booths.

  • 01:41 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    There is also a bar made out of ice with two Southern Tier IPAs on tap, Old Man Winter and Southern Tier IPA. They also have wines and Pabst Blue Ribbon for sale.

  • 01:42 PM ET - 12/4/2021
  • 01:55 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    Northstar House is offering one of the only Vegan chowders at the competition, serving a smoked potato-based chowder. Head Chef Patrick says that North Star will be offering this specific chowder for the rest of the week.

  • 02:00 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    While the ads for the cook-off said that the ticket prices would be $10-20, the actual ticket prices are $1 per ticket.

  • 03:15 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    Voting is almost over, with 45 minutes to go! The ticket booth is handing out maps to make sure people do not miss out on potentially ground-breaking Chowder.

  • 03:45 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    Allegra Hiebert said that they were relaxing at their apartment on the commons and were shocked when they looked out their window to see the Chowder Cook-Off in full swing. After a couple hours of sampling, they sat down on a bench to people watch.

  • 03:49 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    Heibert said that they narrowed it down to two Chowders that they liked, "They were all good. We really liked Banfi, maybe the best," Heibert said. "And then also Monk's, I liked those two." Heibert said that there wasn't a bad Chowder in sight.

  • 03:52 PM ET - 12/4/2021
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    Heibert said that what set Monk's and Banfi apart from the rest were their ratios, "Ratios of everything. Like, veggie to seafood to like spices," Heibert said. "I like that Monk's had a bit of a kick, more veggies in it and that it wasn't too rich."