With world class attractions like Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, ample examples of living history, and a variety of outdoor activities, New Braunfels is a must-visit destination in the heart of Texas's Hill Country. German immigrants founded the city in 1845, and today, the city has utilized its mid-19th Century architecture in numerous shops and restaurants, creating tourist hotspots like the Gruene Historical District.
Crawfest New Braunfels had humble beginnings as a backyard cookout, and in the 15 years since has grown into one of the biggest events in the city. It will take place April 28-30 at the Comal County Fairgrounds, and event planners anticipate more than 10,000 attendees. The event takes the a traditional crawfish gathering and infuses it with additional activities including a carnival with rides and games, a 5K Crawdaddy Dash, "Battle of the Roux" Gumbo Championships, and live music on three stages. Over 10,000 pounds of crawfish will be on hand, and attendees will encounter a wide variety of crawfish-inspired meals and snacks. The event donates proceeds to a variety of nonprofits in New Braunfels such as the Communities in School, Crisis Center of Comal County, and Kids Feeding Kids. We got the opportunity to interview Ben Jones, Founder of the event, to learn more about this great family-friendly celebration.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
BJ: I started the event at my house 15 years ago. It was a big success, gaining sponsorships from Shiner Beer and Time Warner Cable. By it’s last year at my home, we had shuttle buses bringing in patrons all day. It grew to the point (four years ago) where we had to move to the fairgrounds for more room.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
BJ: Last year we had roughly 10,200 attendees.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
BJ: We see everyone at the event from kids to grandparents.
RAL: What makes this event unique.
BJ: My mission statement is to take the cookie cutter version of a crawfish festival and destroy it! We will do just about anything not related to crawfish, for example, we are having a unicycle football exhibition game this year.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
BJ: We have a variety of things to do including:
Crawfish Eating Contest
Dock Dogs Competition
Unicycle Football Exhibition
5K Crawdaddy Dash
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
BJ: Yes, we have booked some great musicians. On Friday, we have William Clark Green, and on Saturday, Cory Morrow and Kevin Fowler will perform.
RAL: What is the environment like?
BJ: The environment is vibrant and fun. The event is located outdoors at the Comal County Fairgrounds.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
BJ: We recommend Courtyard Marriott River Village and Fairfield Inn. Both are within a couple of miles of the fair ground.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
BJ: Yes, attendees of the event spend money at various local restaurants, shops, gas stations, and attractions.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
BJ: Every dollar we give goes to various local charities. We do not give outside our community.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
BJ: New Braunfels is already a travel destination with the #1 waterpark in the world. The family can spend one day at Crawfest and the other at Schlitterbahn Waterpark.
For more information about Crawfest New Braunfels, please visit the event website.