Food Fests: Fabulous and Farce

Not that long ago, I headed into Boston’s Government Center, for one of the annual events to which I had been looking forward ever since I moved here. The Scooper Bowl is a benefit for the Jimmy Fund, but more than that it is a festival of ice cream. Now anyone that knows me well knows that ice cream is far and away my favorite food. So from the moment Ali had mentioned this phenomenon, I have been waiting anxiously to attend.

Here are some pictures of one of the finest event I have attended since living in the Boston area. Featured prominently is the gate to get in and enjoy the dairy deliciousness and a shot from the belly of the beast.

Photo: Ice Cream Cone Gateway to Scooper Bowl Photo: Inside the Row of Ice Cream Tents

With well over a dozen vendors, all handing out heaping cups of savory ice cream flavors in a myriad of fabulous flavors, as well as standby chocolate and vanilla, this was a magnificent occasion. Better still it lasts nearly a week. For a mere $7, you are let inside the gate and it is all you can eat. For me heading to the Scooper Bowl was a sprint, from the moment I raced from the high school onto the train, to entering the gate and commencing with the consumption. For those concerned among you, I knocked down eleven scoops inside a half hour, before deciding that it would not be wise to continue. Unfortunately I was solo for this because of the timing. Since I was still in school and had to wait until the later afternoon and Ali made it a work outing with her staff earlier in the day, we missed one another by a couple of hours. Next year we’ll have to coincide. Plus I will be experienced and better able to pace myself.

Photo: Ben and Jerry’s Tent

I wanted to rave about the Scooper bowl for a couple of reasons. One because it was one of the best fests of its kind I have attended here or anywhere; but two, because it serves as such a shocking contrast to the other equally awaited food event, Boston’s annual Chowderfest. Again, even before I lived here I had heard tale of the Chowderfest and how magnificent it was supposed to be. Travel television shows had regaled it as one of Boston’s best, saluting hall of fame winners of this distinctly New England fare. As soon as I found out that it was going to be Fourth of July weekend, the third, it was penciled in for a must attend. Neither Ali nor Keri had ever been there, so the three of us piled on the train and headed to Government Center.

Photo: The Line to Get into Chowderfest

Simply put, the Chowderfest was the worst travesty ever perpetrated on an unknowing public in search of either festival or food. The three of us arrived to join thousands of others, all of us gift wrapped in cellophane, suckers waiting to be bilked. After waiting in line for well over forty-five minutes, just to get into the farce-fest we walked through the gates to find yet even more lines for the equivalent of six tablespoons of less than stellah chowdah. A mere three, that’s right three, chowder vendors, two of which were not even from Boston, were there ladling out miniscule sample cups of their ware. Better still while we there the lone Boston contingent and past winner, Ned Devine’s, even pulled up stakes and knocked down their booth, apparently having been drained. Mind you this was at 2:30 PM and the event was supposed to go ‘til 6:00 PM. It was a complete joke. Even better was the local news, later that evening, celebrating the event with very tight shots of the event so you couldn’t really see the complete paucity of chowder. It was made even more complete with a Mayor Menino sound bite, “It was great. We had some of Boston’s best restaurants…” Are you kidding me?! I still don’t have enough literary control to exercise all the venom I still harbor for this outrageous Harborfest experience.

In spite of the soup sham, I still always manage to find a way to enjoy myself downtown. It was packed from Faneuil Hall al the way down Washington street and all along the Freedom Trail. Plus it is not everyday that you see Red Coats in the street marching.

Here’s hoping everyone had an Independence Day that exceeded our chowder experience. In spite of the horror show we still managed to have a quality weekend. More on that, perhaps, later.

2 thoughts on “Food Fests: Fabulous and Farce

  1. Well I am glad you had a great fourth of July besides the Chowderfest event. Next year you will have to come out for the Second Annual Rib Fest in Avon. We went and have a great time. Say hey to everyone out there.


  2. I thought you all were going to be in South Dakota for the family reunion. I would have stayed in Boston for the ice cream thing, too. That sounds absolutely wonderful.:-) All of that ice cream . . . the thought sets me to drooling.

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