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California food festivals in 2008

FEB. 23 SANTA CRUZ Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-OffIt might be the seaside location or the theme of the day, but participants are inspired to dress up as scuba divers, mermaids -- there was even a "clam fairy," a spokeswoman said. Teams compete in three divisions (individuals, restaurants and corporate/media) for "best clam chowder," be it Boston or Manhattan. There are cash prizes, round-trip plane tickets and other awards. Where: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St. Cost: Admission free; contest entry fees are $50 or $60; $7 to taste chowders. Info: (831) 420-5273, www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/pr/.
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