The South Florida Crawfish Festival returns April 1 to Pompano Beach.
The South Florida Crawfish Festival returns April 1 to Pompano Beach.
Photo courtesy of CrawDebauchery Crawfish Festival

South Florida Crawfish Festival Returns With a 5,000-Pound Crawfish Boil

Find authentic low-country cuisine like gumbo, jambalaya, po'boys, and beignets in South Florida when the fourth-annual CrawDebauchery South Florida Crawfish Festival returns to Pompano Beach Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2.

Considered a celebration of all things New Orleans, the two-day festival, taking place at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater field (1801 NE Sixth St.), will offer a number of traditional New Orleans-themed eats and activities, such as a Gumbo Rumble competition and a massive crawfish boil.

Additional menu items include red beans and rice, etouffée, and muffulettas, and Louisiana twists on burgers, pizza, fried chicken, and barbecue.

"It's a taste of Louisiana in South Florida,” event organizer Don Matthews says. "We’ll be presenting everything done the way the famed New Orleans cooks and chefs have made it through the years. Even our official festival beer is exclusive Abita, brewed only in Abita Springs, Louisiana."

The biggest draw: about 5,000 pounds of crawfish and oysters on the half-shell, all of it provided by the Fort Lauderdale restaurant Shuck N Dive. Other participating restaurants are Oakland Park-based Alligator Alley Native Florida Tap Room, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Deerfield Beach's Tucker Duke’s Lunchbox, and Fort Lauderdale's Twisted Pig BBQ.

New this year: The second-annual Gumbo Rumble is now open to the public. The gumbo cook-off will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 2. The entry fee is $100 and includes two general-admission tickets for the day. A winner will be announced at 5 p.m.

All cooking must be done in advance; only heating of entry dishes will be allowed at the fest. All entries must be based on a New Orleans-style dark roux, must contain okra, and must be served over rice. Entrants must submit a minimum of three quarts of gumbo and adequate rice and will be responsible for bringing their own equipment, such as pots, ladles, and heating equipment. The festival will provide serving bowls and spoons.

Beignets
Beignets
Photo courtesy of CrawDebauchery

This year, foodies won't be the only ones with something to celebrate. Matthews has also booked a number of top-tier musicians to perform, including the popular New Orleans band the Revivalists. The group recently performed on The Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Conan. The festival will even erect a hardwood zydeco dance floor.

The Crawfish Festival will launch with a parade to promote a new charity, the Music to the Ear Foundation. The procession will begin at the Pompano Green Market and end at the entrance to the amphitheater field.

CrawDebauchery South Florida Crawfish Festival
11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2, at Pompano Beach Amphitheater, 1801 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach; crawdebauchery.com. Advanced-purchase general admission costs $30 for Saturday and $25 for Sunday. VIP ticketholders ($70 Saturday, $65 Sunday in advance) will receive preferential parking, reserved seating at both stages, a coupon for either a free drink of any kind or a sample portion of crawfish, and entry into the expanded VIP tent, featuring big-screen March Madness basketball, a full liquor bar with VIP happy hour, free bloody marys and mimosas for the first two hours of the festival, swag, and beads. Discounted rates for two-day passes are also available, and children under age 10 get in free.

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