Get your crawfish eating moves ready: it’s time for the 30th Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival. Even if you’re not a fan of the main dish, the festival presented by Fiesta of Five Flags, offers a host of food options to indulge in and a full schedule of live music and family activities to enjoy as well.
Hillary Turner, Fiesta of Five Flags’ Director of Marketing, stated that the group anticipates—and is planning for—30,000 visitors to Bartram Park over the weekend. The numbers of crawfish to be trucked in for the occasion are correspondingly large, Turner confirmed: “Throughout the festival, Mike’s Crawfish Boils from Duson, La., will provide over 16,000 pounds of crawfish.”
Boiled isn’t the only way the spotlighted mudbugs will be prepared for those who aren’t in the mood for peeling and sucking. Twelve additional food vendors from Florida, Georgia and Alabama will be in attendance serving up crawfish and Cajun food of all styles, along with other festival-style dishes such as blooming onions, hot dogs, chicken and more.
“Cajun fare features include boudin, jambalaya, Étouffée and crawfish bread,” Turner stated, adding that those with a sweet tooth will also have numerous chances for satisfaction. “Visitors can also expect a plethora of desserts including brownies, apple dumplings, funnel cakes, ice cream and shaved ice.”
Not only can visitors enjoy one of Louisiana’s signature dishes, many of the musicians scheduled to perform represent the state’s signature musical sounds. “For both Crawfish and Seafood Festivals, we use a booking agent out of New Orleans, HUKA Entertainment. They have been lining up the entertainment for our festivals the past three years,” Turner explained. The festival’s musical lineup reflects its New Orleans-based coordination, as it includes a healthy dose of Cajun-inspired tunes, including Pensacola Crawfish Festival regular singer and accordion-master Wayne Toups. New Orleans rockers and local favorites Cowboy Mouth close out the lineup on Sunday.
Beyond relaxed eating and entertainment, kids can also participate in a host of activities designed with family fun in mind. “This year, the Cox Children’s Area has fun activities planned for all ages such as sand art, paddleball decorating, fish printmaking, face painting and NASCRAW races, which are popular,” Turner stated. Kids ages 12 and under are admitted for free all weekend, making it a great chance for families to have a day out together.
The Fiesta organization also offers a chance to burn off some calories as part of the festivities, if you so choose. The 40th annual Fiesta 5K and 10K Run/Walk, sponsored by the Pensacola Runners Association, takes place on Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 a.m. While the routes begin at different locations—the 10K starts at Pensacola State College, the 5K starts from Scott Street and 12th Avenue—all races finish at Seville Square, just across Main Street from Bartram Park. All runners participating in the race will receive free admission to the festival that day—just one more reason to get a move on.
So bring an appetite (and maybe a few extra bucks for an extra flat or two) to Bartram Park to kick off a month of Fiesta events and take part in a Louisiana—and Pensacola—tradition.
PENSACOLA CRAWFISH FESTIVAL
WHEN: Noon—11 p.m. Friday, May 2; 10 a.m.—11 p.m. Saturday, May 3; 11 a.m.—5 p.m. Sunday, May 4
WHERE: Bartram Park, 211 E. Main St.
COST: $5 per day, $10 weekend pass. Kids 12 and under get in free.
DETAILS: 433-6512 or fiestaoffiveflags.org; for more information about the 5K and 10K, visit www.pensacolarunners.com.
2014 Entertainment Schedule:
Friday, May 2
8:30—10:30 p.m. Wayne Toups
Saturday, May 3
11 a.m.—12:30 p.m. Hazy Ray
1:00—3 p.m. AJ Ghent Band
3:30—5 p.m. Chubby Carrier
5:30—7:30 p.m. Roddie Romero & Hub City Allstars
8:30—10:30 p.m. SuperFunk Fantasy
Sunday, May 4
11 a.m.—12:15 p.m. Gravy
12:30—2 p.m. Rollin’ In The Hay
3—5 p.m. Cowboy Mouth