Fundraiser offers all-you-can-eat crawfish

A group enjoying 2017’s First Responders Cook-off.

After last year’s debut of the St. Charles Parish First Responders Crawfish Cook-Off yielded nearly twice as many attendees as expected, bringing everyone back for seconds was a no-brainer.

One Team-One Fight nonprofit organization will hold it this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Luling’s Monsanto Park.

Last year’s event drew 35 teams and nearly 800 people, raising $7,500 for St. Charles Parish’s first responders, including its Sheriff’s Office, fire departments, Fraternal Order of Police, hospital emergency services and EMS personnel. The funds raised were split into three checks of $2,500 each to first responder organizations to buy equipment.

Forty-two teams are registered, according to Natalie Robert Wright, a committee chair with One Team-One Fight. She estimated the teams could cook between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds of crawfish by the event’s end, some 2,000 pounds over last year’s event.

“We were expecting about 400 or so people last year, and felt like that would be a success. We completely sold out of tickets,” Wright said. “We just feel it’s a really worthy cause for everyone to band together and help. The point is to raise awareness.”

Wright, an emergency room worker of 12 years, said the vent was inspired after she and others witnessed a response situation where the fire department, Sheriff’s Office and medical workers banded together seamlessly in an attempt to save a life.

“The Sheriff’s Office is doing what they can before EMS arrives,” Wright said. “You have a fire department volunteer using CPR while EMS is hooking everything up, and the Sheriff’s Office provides transport. It’s just a total team effort that’s amazing to watch.”

Wright said the tight-knit community of St. Charles Parish makes it a naturally strong base for the event.

“We’re such a family here, it makes sense to get everyone involved, she said. “We all know first responders and we love this parish and community.”

She added, “If we can help them upgrade even a little technology to save five minutes, maybe somebody can live.”

The cook-off will feature live music by bands Remedy and Giacomo. Shirts and towels will be sold at the event and there will be a raffle featuring prizes donated by local businesses.

Pre-sale tickets for adults are $20 and $5 for children. Cost at the door will be $25 for adults and $10 for children. Admission is free for children under the age of 6.

A ticket pays for all you can eat, and the food on hand isn’t limited to crawfish. Examples of some other items expected to be prepared include pastalaya, barbeque brisket and bacon-wrapped shrimp. The cook-off winners will be chosen by a panel of 25 judges — also an increase from the 5-person panel last year.

And all of it benefits a good cause.

“These are people putting others first. So whatever we can do to help ease things for them to provide the best care possible for everyone, we want to do,” Wright said.

For more information, contact Natalie Robert Wright at (504) 559-5643 or email oneteam.onefight2017@gmail.com.

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