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The SeaFest clam chowder cook-off is one of the city’s most popular fall events. SeaFest takes place Sunday, Oct. 2, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at San Clemente Pier. Photo: File
The SeaFest clam chowder cook-off is one of the city’s most popular fall events. SeaFest takes place Sunday, Oct. 2, from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at San Clemente Pier. Photo: File

By Victor Carno

A small relic of summer has made its way to the Pier during these autumn months, as the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce and The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar host the 29th annual San Clemente SeaFest. This year’s festivities will include a chowder cook-off, a surf competition and an arts and crafts section, in addition to having a business exposition.

“Bob Novello (from the Fisherman’s) always does well in the chowder cook-off and is the returning champ in the best chowder restaurant (category),” said Lynn Wood, president of the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce.

Awards are given to best chowder, best-decorated booth and people’s choice, but all of the categories are divided into individuals and restaurants. Local dignitaries, including Councilwoman Kathy Ward, Chief of Police Services Lt. David Moodie, former Chief Sgt. Joe McClintock and San Clemente Recreation Coordinator Ken Sipes, will be the judges of the chowder cook-off.  Spectators can purchase taster tickets prior to the people’s choice award to cast their own votes.

Wake up early to catch the surf competition that starts at 8 a.m. by the Pier. The competition will feature children, teens and local amateurs who will compete for first, second and third place. Registration to compete in the competition is $25.

Wood said there are still plenty of openings available in the surf competition, but registration is required.

Along with the competitions, The Fisherman’s will be holding a lobster dinner and the Chamber of Commerce will set up a kid’s area, complete with face paint and arts and crafts.

“We are having a great turnout this year,” Wood said. “The hardest part about putting this event on is getting contestants, because we know they have to devote a lot of their time, and we are so thankful for that.”

Admission is free to the event, which takes place Sunday, Oct. 2. The chowder cook-off starts at 9:15 a.m. and the winners are announced at 3 p.m.  There will be a free shuttle available at San Clemente High School, 700 Avenida Pico, throughout the course of the festival.

For more information and to register for events, visit

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