About This Festival
Fiending for crawfish in the festival capital of the world? There’s no shortage of New Orleans restaurants in which you can wolf down a plate of delicious crawfish. However, you can never go wrong at the NOLA Crawfish Festival in the Central City neighborhood. Held after the first weekend of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, this heavenly celebration combines crawfish, cold craft beer and funky music into one memorable experience.
First and foremost, come to Central City BBQ on an empty stomach. Traditional, NOLA-style cooking is what you’re here for, and you’ll need as much room as possible to devour the most flavorful crustaceans to emerge from a boiling pot of water. When you’re staring down thousands of pounds of crawfish, don’t bother trying to restrain yourself; jump in there, pinch the tail and pull that scrumptious meat out of its shell. Now do it a thousand more times, and then wash it all down with hoppy delights from local breweries like Port Orleans Brewing Company.
Eating Contest and Cookoff
Maybe you’re one of those kinds of people who thinks quantity is just as important as quality. Besides, who needs table manners when there’s cash money on the line? The NOLA Crawfish Festival understands that you’ve never been hungrier in your life, so here’s your chance to become the “Crawfish Eatin’ Champion” of the year. Contestants have 10 minutes to eat as many crawfish as they can, and the winner will take home $100. If you need a little more incentive to gorge yourself silly, contestants get free admission to the festival on the day of the contest!
Those with skills behind the boiler can also sign up to compete in the annual Crawfish Cookoff. Teams of two are given 40 pounds of fresh Louisiana crawfish to prepare mouthwatering recipes for local celebrity judges. Each team is judged on taste, texture, spice and fixin’s, with the winning team earning bragging rights and a shiny trophy to show off all year long. You may not be a celebrity judge or particularly talented, but you do have taste buds – so you should put them to good use by taste-testing each team’s recipes if you can.
Local Tunes and Entertainment
You can’t go to any festival in New Orleans without a full music lineup to soundtrack the experience. The NOLA Crawfish Festival is stacked with soulful, bluesy tunes from a homegrown lineup that rocks all weekend long while you munch on plates of crawfish. Whenever you’re not stuffing your mouth, get up out your seat and dance all the calories away so you can eat some more later. For extra entertainment, the all-female Mardi Gras marching crew, known as the Dames de Perlage, will march through the festival each day to showcase their intricate, beaded costumes. Their colorful designs essentially makes them look like a walking Carnaval.