A bit of Cajun flair is coming to Columbia with the Rosewood Crawfish Festival.
Now in its twelfth year, the festival – set for Saturday, May 6 – is a much-anticipated event for fans of authentic Cajun crawfish. And if crawdads aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of other fun to be had.
“It’s a great opportunity for the Rosewood neighborhood to get exposure. It’s one of the best-kept secrets in Columbia,” said Dave Britt, executive director of the Rosewood Merchants Association, which organizes the festival.
“It is truly family-friendly,”
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Here are a few things to know about this year’s event:
If you love Creole, Cajun and crawfish, you may shed tears of joy. The Creole Chef from Louisiana will bring 10,000 pounds of fresh Louisiana-grown crawfish that will be “purged, seasoned and boiled to perfection.” Other Cajun favorites on the menu include boudin, crawfish etouffe, jambalaya, fried alligator tails, gumbo and assorted po’boys. Advice: If you want crawfish, arrive early – 10,000 pounds goes fast at this festival. “These are grown in Louisiana,” Britt said. “It’s not like anything else you can get on the East Coast.”
Even if you don’t, you won’t go hungry. There will be about 25 vendors selling other food such as mahi-mahi fish tacos with mango salsa, blackened fish tacos with a crawfish cream sauce, muffulettas, Polish sausage, smoked turkey legs, Philly cheesesteaks, hot dogs, corn dogs, shrimp, barbecue and more. And to wash it all down: 20 different craft beers.
The festival kicks off with the Crawdaddy Dash 5K. The race starts and finishes at City Roots farm and takes runners on a course through Columbia’s Rosewood neighborhood. It starts at 9 a.m. All participants get free admission to the Rosewood Crawfish Festival and an official race T-shirt. For information, go to www.crawdaddydash.com/registration.
Artist Village will feature the work of more than 25 local and regional artists.
Sixteen bands – among them Prettier Than Matt, The Blue Dogs and Spin Doctors – will play throughout the day on four stages. Go to www.rosewoodcrawfishfest.com/music-3 for a complete lineup, along with times and stages.
While you’re having fun, you’ll be doing good. A majority of festival proceeds go to improve public safety, finance cleanup initiatives, install bike racks and various other community improvement projects in the Rosewood neighborhood.
Lezlie Patterson, Special to Go Columbia
If you go
Rosewood Crawfish Festival
WHEN: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Crawdaddy Dash starts at 9 a.m.
WHERE: Heart of the festival is around 2700 Rosewood Drive.
COST: Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the gate. Youth ages 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult, and children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult guardian. Purchase at rosewoodcrawfishfest.com/tickets or at 5th Avenue Deli, Brian Dressler Photography, Bottles, Dano’s Pizza, Ole Timey Meat Market, Rockaways Athletic Club, Rosewood Market or Wash World. Advance ticket sales end Friday, May 5. The price of tickets does not include crawfish.
PARKING: Park at the State Fairground RV parking lot, Rosewood Drive and Assembly Street. Shuttles run every 20 minutes. Several streets around the festival area will be closed starting at 4 a.m. Saturday, May 6.
WORTH NOTING: No pets, with the exception of service dogs. Other items not allowed include weapons, backpacks, coolers, picnic baskets or other containers, food or beverages, skateboards, scooters, or personal motorized vehicles (except people with mobility limitations) or bicycles (there will be a free bicycle valet), fireworks, umbrellas or lawn furniture. For a complete list, go to www.rosewoodcrawfishfest.com/faqs.