The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is calling all chefs for the 36th Annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off. This popular fundraiser for our City Parks and Recreation Department is now a two-day event, with amateurs competing on Saturday, Feb. 25 and professionals on Sunday, Feb. 26.




On both days, a panel of judges will determine the “Best Manhattan” and “Best Boston” clam chowders. There are also awards for “People’s Choice” and “Most Tasted” clam chowders. Prizes include airline tickets, cash, wall plaques and bragging rights.




The competition is ideal for Northern California families and friends who enjoy cooking together in a fun setting as well as professional chefs competing for status. The deadline for chefs to register for the “rain or shine” Clam Chowder Cook-Off is Jan. 29. The entry fee is $50 for amateurs and $75 for professionals (restaurants, caterers and food services).




If you don’t plan to compete, be sure to mark your calendar for some great chowder Feb. 25-26! The Boardwalk is admission free and you may purchase tasting kits to sample the various chowders for just $10. Each kit Includes six taste tickets, spoon, cup and a “People’s Choice” ballot.

Sales of these kits and all Clam Chowder Cook-Off proceeds benefit our City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department. Last year 76 entries and thousands of chowder fans resulted in $94,000 for our programs. The event has raised over $1.3 million for Parks & Rec since it started in 1981.




Chowder preparation starts at 10 a.m., cooking at 11 a.m. and public tasting is from 1–3 p.m. both days. Winners will be announced at 4 p.m. daily. Boardwalk rides hours are 11 a.m. to 6. p.m., weather permitting. The Casino Arcade and Neptune’s Kingdom will also be open.

For more information, entry forms and rules, visit or call City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation at (831) 420-5273.

We look forward to seeing you there!


City Beat

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