Every year in May in Breaux Bridge, tens of thousands of people flock to this small southern Louisiana town for one thing: crawfish. But why May? The first full weekend in May is when Breaux Bridge celebrates its famous crustacean with the best way Acadians know how: a festival.
In 1959 Breaux Bridge was given the title of Crawfish Capital of the World, and in 1960 the inaugural Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival was born as a continuation of Breaux Bridge’s centennial celebration. It has continued to grow every year, moving from the historic downtown location where it used to be held to its current location at Parc Hardy along Rees Street.
The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival preparations begin early in the spring with a beauty pageant where they crown the current year’s queen, and the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival Association chooses the year’s notable Breaux Bridge man to be the king. The Crawfish King and Queen, along with their Junior Royalty and Ecrevettes, are featured in a parade on Sunday morning of the festival going from the Breaux Bridge City Hall to the Crawfish Festival grounds.
The festival is steeped in tradition, and the heritage tent at the festival allows visitors and residents alike to learn more about Cajun heritage; you can watch Cajun dancing and cooking demonstrations, learn about Bourrée (a card game unique to Cajun culture), participate in or observe the crawfish etouffee cooking competition and much more.
Every year a local artist is chosen to design a poster to represent the year’s festival in official images. You can purchase copies of the poster at the information booth, or purchase the year’s official t-shirt featuring the poster’s image at the t-shirt booth. After scouring the shirts and posters, don’t forget to take a look at all the other goodies in the arts and crafts section, featuring local vendors and vendors from afar. Of course, that’s just one side of the festival. The main attractions are the food and the music, but that’s for another time.