Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Crawfish fest draws record crowd

120,000 visited event in Chalmette
Times-Picayune, St. Bernard bureau

Louisiana Crawfish Festival organizers say the four-day event topped expectations and previous year numbers, bringing in more than 120,000 visitors.

"This was an amazing weekend, the largest attendance in history," Cisco Gonzales, the festival's chairman, said on Monday.

Fred Billiot, a spokesman for the festival, said about 22,000 pounds of crawfish were sold between Thursday and Sunday.

Gonzales has said that in an average year 35,000 to 40,000 pounds are sold, but he had anticipated a 15,000-pound drop in sales because of this year's high cost of mudbugs.

The boiled crustacean sold for about $4 a pound, nearly a dollar higher than in past years.

Billiot said about 100,000 people attended last year.

Crawfish prices are up from this time last year; supply is down as a fall draught and cold winter killed some critters and slowed the growth of others.

Since 1975, the Chalmette festival has traditionally kicked off the crawfish festival season. More information is available at louisianacrawfishfestival.com or on the festival's Facebook page.

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