Mayflower Church Chowder Fest returns to Kingston


KINGSTON — Gail Caldwell made a funny face as she held up her trophy — a new dipper — and a first-place medal. Its corn, potato and bacon chowder was named best chowder at the Mayflower Church Chowder Fest.

“It’s funny because I’m the one who doesn’t like to cook. Now I’m afraid they’ll let me cook for them,” Caldwell joked.

About 50 residents shared chowders and snacks at the Mayflower Congregational Church Chowder Fest on Saturday. Pastor Anton Brown estimated that half of the attendees are active members of the church, while the other half come from local senior centers.

“Older people have an extremely high level of isolation these days,” Brown said. “A big part of our mission is to provide camaraderie and friendship, to be a good neighbor to the elderly.”

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Nineteen participants brought their homemade chowder. The seafood chowder was a popular choice for competitors, but the carrot chowder caught the eye with its unique color and texture. The contestants lined up the pots on a long table for the three judges and others to taste.

A man fills a cup with chowder during the Mayflower Church Chowder Fest on Saturday March 19, 2022 in Kingston.

Three-time judge Caryn Stankewich tasted each chowder. She said her vote goes to chowder with the best taste.

The Chowder Party, a popular program for the church, has been on hiatus for the past two years due to the pandemic.

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Reverend Brown took over the church about a year and a half ago and brought back the chowder party.

“Our community doesn’t have many places where people can congregate like this,” he said. He said more non-sporting activities are needed.

Janet Croce and Betty Sanderson enjoy chowder at the Mayflower Church Chowder Fest on Saturday March 19, 2022 in Kingston.

Kathy Simisky has returned to church for the first time since the pandemic began.

“It’s wonderful to be back with everyone,” she said.

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Contact Hongyu Liu at [email protected]

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