High attendance is typical for the 11th annual Chowder Cook-off held Jan. 18 in Westwood, sponsored by the Westwood Area Chamber of Commerce.

Annual Chowder Cook-off draws huge turnout

The aroma of nine delicious recipes wafted through the air outside the Westwood Visitor Center Saturday, Jan. 18, welcoming those in attendance to some piping hot home-style soup at the 11th annual Chowder Cook-off in Westwood, sponsored by the Westwood Area Chamber of Commerce.

Tasting kits cost $5 each and included a bread bowl to fill when a recipient decides which soup he or she likes best at the Chowder Cook-off competition in Westwood. Photos by Stacy Fisher

The fun family event started at noon and included live music by Spur of The Moment, consisting of four band members from Westwood and Taylorsville playing a variety of country and folk tunes.

In addition to attracting hundreds of locals to the four-hour event, people came from Susanville, Greenville, Quincy, and as far away as Reno, a number of the attendees revealed.

Tasting kits cost $5 each and included small plastic cups to sample the various chowders plus a bread bowl to fill when a recipient decided which soup he or she liked best.

There were 585 kits available in all for sale; the majority of which were sold.

Most of the rival teams also gave out snacks to go along with their particular chowder recipes like chips, chocolate pieces, toasted bread and more.

The three top winning teams split $600 in prize money in various amounts depending on where they placed at the end of the event, and also received trophies. People’s Choice and Best Booth trophies were also handed out.

A 50/50 drawing was held with half the money from ticket sales going to the winner of the drawing and half going to the Westwood Jr./Sr. High School eighth grade class toward a planned field trip later in the year to Alcatraz in San Francisco.

Located under canopies in the parking area, the various teams competing consisted of The Chimney Fund, Birch St. Bacon & Beer Cheese Chowder Group, Aunt B’s Mountain Chowder, Crazy Chowder Chicks, Drunken Clam, Lassen County CattleWomen, Kernel Queens of Calvary Chapel, BCC Chicks, and Lip Smacken Clacken Chowder.

Also at the Cook-off were booths for Westwood’s Lady Jacks selling boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts, Kettle Corn from Extreme Events, and members of the Westwood Basketball team selling hot dogs and chips. A bounce house was available for the kids, too.

For the adults — beer, wine and cocktails were served in an area next to the center that overlooked the large crowd of clam chowder lovers.

Gail Brown, secretary of the Westwood Area Chamber of Commerce, said it was turning out to be a great day, with clear but cool weather. Most of the snow had been removed at the location site allowing individuals to mingle about freely or to sit at tables to savor their soup.

Brown wanted to thank organizers Jodie Gunn, chamber president; Lana Beal, vice president; assistance by Jay Stewart; and volunteers from the Westwood Community Services District who set up the event and removed the snow; as well as Chester Plumas Bank volunteers Tracey Smith and Richelle Clement who helped hand out tasting kits inside the Visitor Center.

Gunn said that the money raised from ticket sales goes back into the community toward charitable organizations and schools, and promotes local businesses as well as a number of chamber events throughout the year.