About 20 members of the Open Season team at the the Cook-Off, lingering with the other contestants after the beer tent, food trucks, vendor camps and all but a handful of attendees had left or started packing to do so, stood and cheered their triumph as they marched to the stage to accept their prize.
Michele Maker Palmieri, founder, president & CEO of Waterfront Productions LLC, which produces the Annual Great Chowder Cook-Off, said she was pleased with the turnout for this year’s cook-off, given the 90-degree weather and a car crash on the Newport Bridge, already suffering traffic delays due to construction this summer.
The event is in its third year at Fort Adams. In September 2014 Newport Harbor Corporation sold the Newport Yachting Center
Property to a development company, Peregrine Group, and announced that the eventwould no longer be hosted at the Newport Yachting Center. Also dislodged from their annual venue were the Waterfront Reggae Festival and Oktoberfest, according to the Newport Waterfront Events page.
The Newport Waterfront Events Management Team, including Maker Palmieri, acquired the intellectual property and assets for the events, founded Waterfront Productions, LLC, then located new waterfront venues in Newport and Providence, bringing all the events back for 2015, with the Chowder Cook-Off moving to Fort Adams. The team also launched a new Latino Music Festival.
Maker Palmieri said the events had grown to attract about 7,000 – 10,000 people each year, but the move took some of that growth at first.
“It took us a little while to get back to that,” Maker Palmieri said. But this year, “We’re over 7,000,” she said.