Shediac recently wrapped up their week of Chowder Madness, and the event sets a great example for possible events of a similar nature in Fredericton.

Chowder Madness was an event that involved nine different restaurants and allowed participants the chance to win $450 in gift cards. To participate in the event, patrons would order the chowder from each restaurant and eventually would be able to rate them and enter the contest. This is very similar to Fredericton’s popular burger week, or Halifax’s taco week.

It’s an easy enough event to make COVID-safe. Restaurants are all subject to specific COVID regulations already, and something like a chowder is easy to convert to takeout. With a lack of cultural events glaringly obvious in the community right now, having something like another Burger Week would be fantastic. 

Chowder Madness was a very successful endeavour, and the upcoming Fredericton Craft Beer Week shows promise! Craft Beer Week runs from February 28 to March 7 and includes breweries and pubs all around Fredericton. 

Making eating out into a real activity, like a sort of treasure hunt or contest, is not only a great way to fill a void in activities available to people who are trying to stay true to COVID restrictions, but also a good way to encourage people to show up and support small businesses. Throughout the pandemic, “shop local” has been an oft-repeated phrase, but sometimes it can be difficult to find new ways to engage with local shops and restaurants. Hosting a contest where participants shop or dine local in order to win prizes seems like a perfect opportunity to up engagement with local businesses while remaining relevant and creating fun and interesting COVID-safe activities.

Halifax Taco Week usually has pamphlets that participants take to each restaurant and have a bingo-like sheet that is signed off on by servers. This is easy to do in a contactless way by using an app like GooseChase where users can upload photos to prove that they participated. This could even be used to adapt the activity to make it suitable for takeout if Fredericton ends up in Red again. 

It’s difficult to try and find a way to connect to the community when we aren’t meant to be connecting with more than ten people. When it comes right down to it, many of us are suffering from a kind of withdrawal from contact. So any way that contact can be created, whether through an in-person dining experience or an online one, is worth it to try. If Shediac can do it, so can Fredericton.