Vermont’s favorite family-oriented feeding frenzy is calling it quits. The 24th annual Green Mountain Chew Chew Food & Music Festival, set for this coming weekend in Burlington’s Waterfront Park, will be the final edition of one of the region’s most popular and long-running family events.

A combination of the increased costs of production and a crippling two out of three days of rain at last year’s festival resulted in a $20,000 loss that delivered the final blow, according to founder and Chew Chew Engineer Rick Norcross of Burlington.

“We have had a long and successful run and we want to go out on a high note and produce one last festival as a heartfelt Thank You to the tens of thousands of attendees, sponsors, vendors, staff and Vermont musicians who have made the Chew Chew Fest an absolute blast to stage over the past 24 years,” said Norcross.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and deeply appreciate the wonderful support that this community has extended to the festival since the very beginning.”

The Chew Chew Fest began serving in downtown Burlington in 1984, outgrew their location in City Hall Park and on St. Paul Street between College and Main Streets, and was the first festival held in Burlington’s Waterfront Park on the shores of Lake Champlain. Since then, The Green Mountain Chew Chew has drawn hundreds ofthousands of people to Burlington over a weekend that was deemed the worst business weekend of the summer in the mid-eighties.

The Chew Chew Fest had a major economic impact and has turned Burlington’s Waterfront Park to a destination point during the last weekend in June for several generations. Over 400 Burlington area restaurants and Vermont food producers have served their taste treats over the years grossing over $3,375,000 in 23 weekends in $.50 brass tokens, the system of exchange at the festival.

The Chew Chew Fest helped to introduce new cuisines to the Burlington restaurant community over the years. Most notably, the Bourbon Street Grill’s spicy Cajun format was introduced at the Chew Chew and catapulted the small College Street eatery into the area’s favorite purveyor of the flavors of New Orleans for many years. And became one of the legendary stars of the festival.

“Everybody either likes to eat or has to eat and the combination of great food, the cream of Vermont music delivered in a world-class setting has made the festival a very special experience for locals and tourists alike,” said Norcross. The Chew Chew Fest has drawn many people from the Montreal area as well as attendees from all over New England to enjoy the festivities.

Further info: Rick Norcross, Engineer/Coordinator,
Green Mountain Chew Chew Food Festival Produced by Airflyte Productions,
216 Battery Street, Burlington VT 05401
Phone: (802) 864-6674

How The Green Mountain Chew Chew Food & Music Festival Works… And How You Work The Chew Chew

If you are visiting the Green Mountain Chew Chew Food Festival for the first time, here’s the system.

Each Restaurant and Vermont Food Producer will be serving three food items at their booths with no duplications. Each booth must serve one new food item each year so that the menu will continuously change from year to year and yet still retain many of the festival favorites. These taste treats represent their specialties and are sure to be found on menus at their home locations. There are two “Depot Ticket Booths” in Waterfront Park where you can purchase brass Chew Chew food tokens priced at Nine Tokens for $5.

The object of the festival is to expose you to as many different taste treats as possible during your ride on the Chew Chew Train. We don’t want you to fill up at the first booth you visit so our mantra is low prices and small taste-sized portions. That way, you get to sample many different food items from many different restaurants. No food item at the Chew Chew costs more than four brass food tokens and most are priced at three! You’ll find that $5 worth of tokens will go a long way at this year’s Chew Chew. Be daring and try something different!

What the National and Regional Press Had to Say About The Chew Chew Fest

Much to our delight, The Green Mountain Chew Chew Food & Music Festival was nationally recognized this past year (2008) by some terrific publications.

The Los Angeles Times chose to feature the Chew Chew Fest in their May 27th Travel Section and Boston Magazine cast their regional light on the festival in their June issue. The AAA named the Chew Chew Fest as a “New England Getaway,” and we were listed a “Top 10 Fest” in The Philadelphia Inquirer. And check out the Chew Chew photo and menu in the June 19th issue of the national Women’s World Magazine, on the news stands the week before the publishing date, perfect timing for festival publicity!