From its vast amount of historical attractions to its world-famous live music scene, Memphis is a destination that rarely leaves visitors disappointed. Regardless of the type of getaway, the city has a perfect attraction. Families will love the Children's Museum of Memphis which features a variety of entertaining learning experiences, and couples will fall head over heels for romantic riverboat rides on the Mississippi River. Every traveler should make sure to stop by the Beale Street Entertainment District, which features a variety of live music venues, restaurants, nightclubs, shops, and more.
The Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival has been a go-to culinary experience for tens of thousands of people for more than 25 years, and it will take place April 15 in Downtown Memphis. Attendees will encounter a crawfish eating extravaganza complete with more than 17,000 pounds of crawfish prepared by a small army of cooks and chefs. Award-winning national and Memphis performing acts will perform live Cajun, Zydeco, rock, and funk music on three stages, providing a vibrant and exciting event atmosphere. Patrons can also partake in a variety of fun Cajun-themed activities including crawfish racing, bobbing, eating and tossing. Those looking for some unique art and handmade trinkets will love the vendor area, and if you're attending with the entire family, the kid's area includes games, activities, and more. While the event is free to enter, patrons can purchase VIP experiences such as the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust Swamp Tent and Cash Saver Louisiana Gumbo Cook-off. The event’s proceeds will go to Porter-Leath, an organization that helps at-risk children and families achieve healthy, optimal, and independent lifestyles. ResortsandLodges.com interviewed Event Representative, Rob Hughes, to learn more about this spring culinary experience.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
RH: This will be the 26th edition of the Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival.
RAL: How many annual attendees do you draw?
RH: Attendance is usually around 45,000-50,000 folks.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
RH: Yes to all. We have one of the most diverse festival crowds in town. Years ago, we received a great comment that "Rajun Cajun is the 'unofficial official' start of spring in Memphis."
RAL: What makes this event unique?
RH: Many things! We're the largest one-day crawfish festival outside the State of Louisiana, with over 17,000 lbs of crawfish driven up straight from the source (Louisiana), then cooked and consumed on site each year. Next, it's a free admission festival with all proceeds benefiting Porter-Leath and the 50,000 children we serve each year through our programs. Additionally, the entire festival is operated by Porter-Leath staff, so patrons may buy a soft drink from one of our teachers, meet our HR Director in the crawfish line, and buy a t-shirt from our compliance manager.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
RH: We have a gumbo cookoff with 24 teams competing for cash prizes our coveted cast iron skillet trophy, three stages of live music, a kids area, a VIP tent, and more. Our unique activities include live crawfish racing for children, a crawfish eating contest (how fast can you eat three pounds of crawfish?), and the ultimate crowd favorite - the crawfish bob. Yep, you're bobbing for live crawfish using only your face!
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
RH: There are always some celebs in the crowd - NBA players, elected officials, GRAMMY award winners, and even a group of pirates!
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
RH: Food options, in addition to crawfish, come from 20+ food vendors serving everything from gourmet BBQ, roasted corn, traditional carnival food, and ice cream, to the more exotic crawfish mac n' cheese, alligator jambalaya, and crawfish pizza.
RAL: Tell us about the overall atmosphere?
RH: Imagine two city blocks worth of space jam-packed with people, the smell of crawfish coming from a giant cooker that cooks 500 lbs of crawfish at a time, plus the aroma of 24 teams cooking their best gumbo. Then bring in the sounds of three stages of live swamp soul music, and you're close to being at Rajun Cajun!
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
RH: Plenty of options ranging from a standard hotel to the exciting hotel at Bass Pro in the Pyramid to the exquisite Peabody or Madison.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
RH: Rajun Cajun supports over 50,000 local children and families served by Porter-Leath programs each year. Also, it's one of the last free admission festivals in town, providing anyone the opportunity to come and enjoy a great time. Plus, we have over a dozen arts and crafts vendors, so the event offers an excellent opportunity for exposure.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
RH: Absolutely - we have attendees that make the drive each year from MO, FL, and of course, LA!
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
RH: All funds support Porter-Leath and fund our mission of empowering children and families to achieve a healthy, optimal and independent lifestyle.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
RH: Simple - our tagline says it all: "Eat Crawfish. Help Children." Rajun Cajun has it all - plenty of activities for anyone to enjoy, music that you won't experience anywhere else, and of course, plenty of food. Plus, its all for a great cause.
For more information about the Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival, please visit the event website.