Crawfish Festival Comes To A Close

BILOXI (WLOX) -- The 16th annual Crawfish Festival is finally over. Thousands of people came out for the annual event. People say they weren't going to let Mother Nature soak up the fun at this year's celebration.

"In all the years we've been doing it, we've never lost a day of entertainment. We've always been able to get it in, and we've been very fortunate that it's worked out for us," says Matt McDonnell, assistant executive director at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.

He remembers the first Crawfish Festival.

"Year one we had one stage, very small. It was three days only, and we had maybe eight different acts and one headliner for the whole event and a handful of rides," McDonnell said. "16 years later, we are eight days, we have 27 acts on the stage, 8 different headliners, a crawfish cook-off, multiple vendors and probably the finest midway anywhere in the country."

The festival also has the best crawfish, according to one cook.

"The key to it is soaking, a lot of soaking," says Jason Morgan.

Morgan is a cook with Kingfish Seafood, the business that's the face of the Crawfish Festival

"We are the crawfish," Morgan says.

While the business is based in Slidell, owner Kevin Kingston has roots in Bay St. Louis and like many longtime festival goers, he says it seems like only yesterday when he became the exclusive crawfish provider.

"We started off, I think we originally did like 11,000 pounds years ago, and we've had a week as high as 28,000," Kingston says.

Even though this year's event had a smaller crowd and the curse of rain from Mother Nature,  the business served up 20 thousand pounds of crawfish.

Leaders at the Coliseum are already planning for next year's festival.

They will expand the crawfish cookoff, they also plan to diversify the entertainment.