It’s crawfish season in Louisiana, and festival season also. That can only mean one thing, crawfish festivals!
Crawfish are an important part of Louisiana State’s identity, economy, and cuisine. This red crustacean is found in both Creole and Cajun dishes throughout Louisiana and is cooked in every possible way imaginable.
In fact, the most commonly asked question in Louisiana from visitors is “When is crawfish season?”
The importance of the crawfish is first seen in the Houma Indian tribe, where the crawfish was used as its emblem for hundreds of years. In the 1800s, lobster recipes brought by Cajun settlers from their Canadian roots were substituted with crawfish. Then, Creole restaurant entrepreneurs realized how delicious and accessible crawfish was, and it’s been an important part of Louisiana culture and cuisine ever since!
What makes crawfish an even bigger commodity is the fact that it’s seasonal. Prime time for crawfish falls from February to mid-May. For many Louisiana residents, crawfish is the marker for an upcoming spring.
In honor of crawfish season and the fact that Louisianians have a festival for everything, here’s a guide to the best Louisiana Crawfish festivals you don’t want to miss.
This festival is from March 26th to the 29th in Chalmette. St. Bernard Parish is one of the most seafood-centric regions in Louisiana. Most of this is due to a commercial fishing industry that has been thriving for decades. Head to this fest for every imaginable recipe of crawfish, good Cajun music, arts and crafts, and pageants.
This three say party occurs on April 17-18 in Lake Charles. Although it’s called a crawfish festival, expect a celebration that focuses on all the awesome things St. Charles has to offer. You’ll find pageants, live music, local crafts, and carnival rides.
The largest one day event on the Northshore, this festival is on April 18 in Slidell. This festival hosts a healthy competition that has more than 60 teams cooking for the title of Best Crawfish in St. Tammany Parish. Plan for large crowds, great music from well known artists, and a special kids zone for kids 12 and under.
The first weekend of May each year (May 1-3 this year), this huge festival is hosted in Breaux Bridge. With over 30,000 visitors flocking to Cajun Country, Breaux Bridge was named the Crawfish Capital of the World in 1959, and the festival followed suit in 1960. The festival embodies Cajun culture with authentic music and food.
Curious about other festivals in Louisiana? Click herefor a complete list.
Want to find crawfish without the crowds? Head to one of these restaurants for a delicious crawfish meal:
- Hawk’s in Rayne
- Galliano Restaurant
- Parrain’s Seafood
- Bevi Seafood Co.
- Steamboat Bill’s
- Billedeaux’s Cajun Kitchen
If you’re interested in the history of crawfish, Jeff Davis Parish offers crawfish farm toursthat show visitors a glimpse into crawfish ecology and the business.
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