When an event has been running for nearly two decades, you have to figure the organizers running it know what they are doing. The Long Beach Crawfish Festival just held its 18th Annual festivities over the past weekend and brought a little taste of New Orleans to thousands of Southern Californians. Admission included a free souvenir photo, and showing that they give back, all active United States military personnel received free general admission.
Naturally, the big draw is the crawfish boil put on by Bristol Farms. Meals are available offering either two or three pounds of crawfish and are accompanied by red potatoes and a third of cob of corn. If you timed it right, you could see the critters alive before they were lifted and lowered into the massive cooker filled with boiling water.
Crawfish will make you appreciate their sacrifice because a lot of work is required to get the meat out their tails. Plus, their shells are hard and sharp. I nicked my right index finger working through my two pounds, but the sacrifice was worth it. The seasonings used provided a mild zestiness to the crawfish. The potatoes were perfectly tender. However, the corn left something to be desired as it was mushy and had the flavor boiled out of it.
While my wife and I ate our meal that late Sunday afternoon, we listened to Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, winners of the 2008 West Coast Blues Hall of Fame award for “Best Zydeco Group”. Their cool rhythms helped beat the heat as we ate our meal standing at a table in the sun. I could feel drops of sweat running down my back, but was determined to get through my tasty meal. Others took advantage of the shaded dance floor.
For those who don’t like crawfish, there were other food options; some were Cajun inspired while others were local food vendors selling their wares. The former were the more successful. The longest line was for the stand selling beignets, a hunk of deep-fried dough covered in a huge amount of powdered sugar. They were overwhelmed with customers as it appeared only one person was making them. One line was to buy them and a second line to pick them up. The Ragin’ Cajun food truck seen on Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race was there. I was disappointed I missed out the vendor who sold out of alligator. The lemonade stand, which offered different flavors, seemed to be doing well. I wasn’t surprised to find no one ordering Mexican or Chinese food during my trips through the food area as you can get that type of food anytime.
The only negative was not enough trashcans around the grounds because quite a number of people were slobs and left the remains of their meals on the ground, though I know there’s no guarantee they would have used them.
I enjoyed my time and anticipate returning to next year’s Long Beach Crawfish Festival.