Insider’s Guide To Memphis Crawfish Festivals
Crawfish season is here, and that means festivals! Here's a handy dandy guide for you to make the most of this spring's events.
You can listen to the March I Love Memphis Podcast Bonus Clip right here and then check out the insider's guide to Memphis' four crawfish festivals.
What's the deal: The year-round neighborhood farmer's market celebrates the opening of its Spring Season with the 3rd Annual Crawfish Boil. Buy buckets of crawfish, hang out and eat, drink beer, listen to music and shop for your produce and locally-made goods.
When: Saturday, April 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Parking lot of First Congregational Church (1000 S. Cooper St.)
Cost: Free to enter, $15 for 1.5 pounds of crawfish and veggies, Memphis Made beer and other food (Hot Mess Burritos and Farm 2 Cart will be on hand) are additional cost.
Parking: Plenty of free street parking in the surrounding neighborhoods. If you live nearby, walk it!
– Pre-purchase a ticket online here (there's a $1.83 service fee) to avoid waiting in line for a crawfish bucket token on April 4th.
– Bring extra cash to donate to the CYCFM's ioby campaign to improve the market.
– CYCFM is pet friendly, as long as your pooch is well-behaved and on a leash.
What's the deal: Overton Square's huge crawfish fest shuts down Madison Avenue and fills the street with craft and food vendors, live music, beer, a kid's area, an of course, crawfish.
When: Saturday, April 11, from noon to 6 p.m.
Where: Overton Square
Cost: Free to enter, $20 for a 2-3 pound box of crawfish. Beer, other Cajun food from The Bayou, and other restaurants will be selling food and drinks as well: just bring cash.
Parking: It's going to be insane. Please try to carpool, bike, walk, parachute in on a drone, take a cab, Ride the Roo from Cooper Young…or get there really early to park in the garage or find a spot in a surrounding neighborhood, but please be courteous and don't block people's driveways or park in resident-only spaces.
– Bring cash! ATMs in the area are scarce and everything, including beer, will be cash only.
– Wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. I feel like everyone gets their first bad sunburn of the year at Overton's crawfish fest.
– Leave coolers and pets at home, but feel free to set up your own chairs in front of one of the two stages (one in Bayou's lot and one in the Tower Courtyard).
– You can get beer with I.D. from several stands on the street, and sodas will be sold at the Bayou Crawfish trailer in the Bayou parking lot.
– There will be a kid's area between Le Chardonnay and Schweinehaus.
3. Harbor Town Crawfish Festival
What's the deal: Harbor Town Business Square is blocked off for a big neighborhood block-party style crawfish boil with live music and other food vendors, all to benefit the Mid-South Food Bank.
When: Saturday, April 18, from noon to 8 p.m.
Where: Harbor Town
Cost: $5 or 2 canned goods to enter. Crawfish is $20 for about 2 pounds, corn and potatoes optional. Coors, Miller, and Sam Adams will be for sale, plus other food in neighborhood restaurants.
Parking: There are a few lots, street parking on Island Drive, or in Harbor Town neighborhoods.
– Arrive early for the best parking spot, crawfish, and seating availability.
– Leave the pets at home, but feel free to bring your own chairs.
– The festival is totally family-friendly.
– If crawfish isn't your thing (or you stay late) check out the neighborhood's restaurants or food vendors. There will be Pronto Pups.
4. Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival
What's the deal: 25,000 people gather to eat 16,000 pounds of crawfish, 2,000 pounds of shrimp, and raise $100,000 for Porter Leath while enjoying live entertainment, drinks, and more.
When: Sunday, April 19, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Wagner Place and Riverside Drive between Union and Beale.
Cost: Free to enter, $20 for a 3 pound bucket of crawfish (no corn/potatoes, it's all crawfish), and $10 for 1/4 pound container of shrimp, other food vendors will be there, too.
Parking: There are plenty of garages and lots around the festival area, with various prices. Follow Rajun Cajun on Facebook for a map of parking the week before the fest.
– If you really want to party or make a day of it, it's worth the investment for tickets to the Swamp Tent, with all-you-can-eat jambalaya, red beans and rice, cookies, soft drinks and beer. Tickets are $100/person or $175/couple and always sell out. Call Angela at 901-527-2500 ext. 1119 to buy yours today.
– Buy beer for $4, and hurricanes and margaritas for $7. There will also be a wine bar and a beer garden.
– Skip the long crawfish lines by arriving early or getting Swamp Tent tickets. If you get there really early, there's very limited free parking on the cobblestones by the river.
– Don't miss the Beale Street Stage for kids' crawfish races, crawfish eating contest and live crawfish bobbing at 5:30 p.m.
If I left out any festivals, please email me here. If you are a restaurant or organization hosting crawfish boils that are open to the public, leave a comment with all the info so crawdad-loving I Love Memphis readers can find out where to chow down.
P.S. Rob Hughes from Porter-Leath reminded me that crawfish are very healthy.