St. Charles Parish’s second annual crawfish cook-off will be bigger in nearly every way this year with three days of festivities, more celebrity judges, carnival rides and nearly 40 boil teams ready to light the fire.
The festival, scheduled May 15-17 at the Jerusalem Shrine Center, 1940 Ormond Blvd. in Destrehan, is held by the Ormond Civic Association along with the Jerusalem Shriners.
“As this thing grows, there’s no shortage of big name talent that has come out of St. Charles Parish who we hope will participate as celebrity judges this year or into the future,” said Karl Lirette, vice president of the Ormond Civic Association.“In addition, one of our original goals was to incorporate as many local businesses to be involved like the crawfish, printing, bands, vendors and general supplies – our first choice is St. Charles Parish businesses.”
High-profile celebrity judges including former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield, Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson, former Gov. Edwin Edwards, Saints all-pro center Jonathan Goodwin and even Seafood City’s Al Scramuzza, the man now 88 years old who claims credit for popularizing crawfish in New Orleans, all will be at the festival.
Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and Houston Texans running back Alfred Blue III of Hahnville could also attend the festival pending any schedule conflicts with the NFL, Lirette said.
This year’s expected attendance could triple last year’s visitors.
“We created this to have a new and fun event for the community and the response was overwhelming with 1,600 people on our first go,” Lirette said. “This year it looks like we’re going to nearly triple in size, not just in three days, but the number of boil teams participating. The traction we’re having this year is amazing.”
Lirette said they’ve more than doubled the number of boil teams. In just one year, the festival has grown from one day to three, and will include carnival rides.
Friday events will run from 6 to 11 p.m., featuring the Masters Touch Drumline group.
Saturday festivities will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. with the main event being the crawfish boiling contest at 3 p.m. and all-you-can-eat crawfish from 1 to 6 p.m.. Awards will be presented during Rockin’ Doopsie’s set at 9 p.m.
Each team must cook a minimum of 200 pounds of crawfish during the day. The judges will determine the overall winner, while the crowd will help pick the people’s choice champion. Judging will be based on taste, appearance, firmness and ease of peeling.
Celebrity judges also will choose top six best boilers in corn, potatoes and sausage.
Additional awards will be given for fan favorite tasting award and the best decorated boil team booth.Crawfish for the event will be provided by the Seafood Pot in Destrehan.
A special award will be given in Scramuzza’s name to top finishers.
Saturday’s music lineup will open with local bands Giacomo and Remedy, and close the night with Rockin’ Doopsie and the Zydeco Twisters.Sunday’s main event is the crawfish eating contest from noon to 9 p.m. Category Six will be headlining band.
Lirette said they’ve already sold nearly 400 early bird tickets.
Proceeds from the crawfish cook-off will benefit community projects the Jerusalem Shriners and Ormond Civic Association will sponsor in the future.
Advance or early bird tickets for the Saturday boil event are $20 for an adult. Those between the ages of 10-16 pay $8 early bird and then $10 admission at the gate, while those under 10 get in for free.
Tickets are available at Ace Hardware and Seafood Pot restaurant. For more information, visit www.stcharlesboil.com.