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Restaurants vie for crab soup awards during OC festival

(May 1, 2015) Eleven restaurants will compete for one of the three titles up for grabs during the Ocean City Downtown Association’s 11th annual White Marlin Festival and Crab Soup Cookoff, Saturday, on Somerset Plaza in downtown Ocean City.

“Just because there are 11 restaurants doesn’t mean there will only be 11 soups,” OCDA administrator Mary Ann Manganello said. “Many competitors enter both the red and white categories.”

The festival, which runs from noon to 3 p.m., is free to attend, and will feature booths by not only the competitors but also the Ocean City Life-Saving Museum, the Play it Safe program, the Ocean City Surf Club and Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation.

To taste the soups and vote for the winners, the cost is $12. Prizes will be awarded for best white and red soups as well as the best-decorated booth.

Last year’s winners, Mother’s Cantina, in the white soup category and Fager’s Island in the red, will return.

Also participating will be Eagle’s Landing, Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs, Phillips Seafood, the Lazy River Saloon, Pickles Pub, Seacrets Waterman’s Seafood, OC Brewing Company and The Pour House.

“We’ll easily get 1,000 people at the festival, and usually more than 600 will vote for their favorite soup,” Manganello said.

The soup may be the centerpiece, but it is not the entirety of the event.

“It’s just a lot of fun. Where else will you be able to try a lot of different soups from a wide variety of Ocean City’s favorite restaurants and vote for your favorite,” Lisa Aydelotte, event coordinator, said.

Winners will be awarded a plaque to display in their restaurants and, of course, all-important bragging rights for a year.

Live music will be provided by One Night Stand.

“It’s one of our biggest fundraisers. It’s our mission to bring people into Ocean City, particularly during the off-season,” Manganello said.

Events sponsored by the Ocean City Downtown Association that will receive a portion of the funding raised from the Crab Soup Cookoff include the Halloween Parade and the Wicomico Street Winter Festival, Manganello said.

“We try to give merchants a reason to stay open when they normally wouldn’t,” she said.

Manganello expected to raise more than $6,000 through this event.

Visit www.downtownassociation.net to learn more about the Ocean City Downtown Association.

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