It seems like people rarely just eat crawfish — they celebrate eating crawfish. More often than not, eating crawfish is a communal meal, undertaken with friends and family. This year, there’s a lot to celebrate, as the Louisiana crawfish industry is reporting a good year for harvesting the mini crustaceans.
One of the biggest local crawfish celebrations returns Sunday for the seventh time, as the annual Rotary Club of Galveston Crawfish Boil brings food and fun to Moody Gardens. The proceeds of the Crawfish Boil benefit Galveston organizations improving the community’s health, education and welfare, supported by the Rotary Foundation.
2017 is shaping up to be an exceptional crawfish season. After a shaky start due to last summer’s floods in Louisiana and some cold weather at the beginning of 2017, a warm spring has led to an excellent crop. The Rotary event will serve plates of Cajun-spiced crawfish accompanied by potatoes, onions and corn on the cob.
For diners who aren’t enamored of crawfish, the Lighthouse Charity Cooking Team is also preparing boiled shrimp, hot dogs, and barbecue-beef topped baked potatoes. For dessert, a wide variety of homemade cookies baked by Rotary Club members will round out the Sunday meal.
While good food is the marquee event at the Crawfish Boil, entertainment is also on the menu. Mustang and His Two-Steppin’ Zydeco Band perform throughout the afternoon, and zydeco dancers can compete for the title of the festival’s Zydeco Dance Queen and King.
For children, a crawfish eating contest, “Mud Bug Bounce,” and other activities will fill the four hours of the crawfish boil. Families are encouraged to attend, and there is no charge for admission. Crawfish plates are $25 with an advance ticket, with crawfish plate tickets available at the door for $30.
Crawfish events have become much more popular in coastal Texas in recent years, as crawfish have become more readily available. That stems from increases in crawfish production, which has become more efficient as the crawfish industry adopts new technology. A Southern historian, John Laudun, chronicles this development in a new book, “The Amazing Crawfish Boat.”
According to Laudun, the development of amphibious vehicles that are essentially wheeled, motorized versions of the Cajun pirogue transformed the process of harvesting crawfish, making them a cash crop that could be farmed and harvested in greater quantities. This greater availability makes it possible for crawfish fans to enjoy a taste of the Louisiana bayous even if they’re on the shores of Offatts Bayou.
The Rotary Club of Galveston Crawfish Boil is scheduled for April 23 at Moody Gardens from noon until 4 p.m. Food, drinks and music will be available in the big white tent located behind the Discovery (pink) Pyramid. Advance crawfish or shrimp plate tickets are available at the Galveston Chamber of Commerce office, 2228 Mechanic St., by calling the Chamber office at 409-763-5326 or by purchasing online at galvestonchamber.com. Admission to the event is free, and free parking is available at Moody Gardens.