Well, folks, it’s that time of year again - crawfish season! And what better way to celebrate than with a crawfish cook-off? On Saturday, April 15th, Downtown Laurel was the place to be for the Community Bank Crawfest, presented by Laurel Main Street and the Sertoma Club of Laurel.
Over 7,000 pounds of crawfish were ordered for the event, and 41 teams competed for the titles of Best Crawfish, Best Covfefe (sides and additions to the boil), Spirit Award, and People's Choice. That’s a whole lot of crawfish! But let’s be real, is there such a thing as too much crawfish? I think not.
Teams started load-in bright and early at 8 am and were able to start boiling crawfish at 9 am. By 11 am, when the gates opened to an estimated 3,000 attendees, the air was already thick with the scent of boiling crawfish. Hattiesburg based band Grits and Greens started playing at 11 am, and the atmosphere was electric.
Despite the rain that started pouring down at 12:30, crowds continued to brave the weather to eat crawfish and enjoy the other food and drinks at the event. Because let's face it, when it comes to crawfish, a little rain can't stop us!
Now, let’s get down to business - the winners! The Best Crawfish title went to Down South Cooking Crew, while the Best Covfefe was awarded to Fat Boyz Crawfish. These winners each received a $500 check and one of the two coveted traveling crawfish paddles, each over 6' tall. The People's Choice winner was Who’s Your Crawdaddy, who received an engraved commemorative crawfish paddle and $100. Finally, the Spirit Award went to Stew's Crew, who received $100.
But the real winners of the day were Laurel Main Street and the Sertoma Club of Laurel. Proceeds from the event will be split evenly between these two organizations. Laurel Main Street uses event proceeds to fund their facade grant program, which offers downtown business and building owners financial reimbursement grants for revitalization or rehabilitation projects in Downtown Laurel. So not only did everyone get to enjoy some delicious crawfish, but they also got to support a great cause.
Of course, an event like this wouldn’t be possible without the support of some very generous sponsors. Laurel Main Street would like to thank Community Bank, the City of Laurel, the Jones County Board of Supervisors, the Jones County Economic Development Authority, Protec Security, Endom Trailers, Stokes Distributing, Coca-Cola, BClean, Front Street Market, Buzzard's Roost, and Dunn Road Builders. Thank you for helping to make the Community Bank Crawfest a success!
All in all, it was a fantastic day filled with crawfish, music, and community. And isn’t that what events like this are all about? Bringing people together to enjoy good food and good company. So, here’s to next year’s Crawfest - may it be just as craw-some as this year’s!
Best Crawfish - Down South Cooking Crew
Best Covfefe - Fat Boyz Cooking Crew
People's Choice - Who's Your Crawdaddy?
Spirit Award - Stew's Crew