By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce announced March 14th, that after 20 years the Chowder Cook-Off has "officially come to an end" due to lack of participation from area restaurants, high price of seafood, and the complexities of organizing outdoor food events.
Greg R. Reynolds, President of the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday that, "We went to 32 restaurants and only got four that were interested and then they started backing out for various reasons."
Reynolds said the number of restaurants participating in the event had declined in recent years and with the deadline to enter approaching with no restaurants committed to participating, the decision was made to cancel the event.
In an announcement issued by the Chamber on Tuesday Reynolds explained, "It is with a sense of pride, remembrance and sorrow that after twenty great years, the Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-Off has officially come to an end. Unfortunately, our signature spring event became a victim of the high price of seafood, lack of restaurant participation along with the complexities of outdoor food events."
Reynolds explained, "The Chowder Cook-Off was all about delicious food, good music and fun for the entire family at this family-oriented event. Chefs from southeast North Carolina’s finest restaurants prepared the region’s best chowder recipes – seafood or otherwise. Folks sampled a taste of Cape Fear during this friendly chowder competition held at Carolina Beach Lake Park in Carolina Beach every April. Children enjoyed the park’s playground and Kidz Zone with face painting, a giant inflatable slide, laser tag and more. There was always great music playing all day and a few adult beverages enjoyed along with the great Chowder. The Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will be meeting shortly with the assistance of the local restaurant community to determine a future culinary-based event(s) to showcase the area restaurants and food purveyors."
He explained, "Not to despair, to kick off the 2017 Season, the first ever Spring Pleasure Island Seafood Blues and Jazz Festival will be held at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area on Sunday April 23rd with 12 great bands on two stages with plenty of seafood, face-painting, laser-tag, crafters, artists, beer, wine and fun for all ages. This inaugural Spring event will feature headliners Jonny Lang and Samantha Fish along with ten other bands overlooking the banks of the mighty Cape Fear River in Kure Beach, NC."