With one of the first days of beautiful sunshine in almost two weeks, more than 5,000 attendees flocked to the festival grounds with their families, friends and even their dogs to enjoy a day of Louisiana crawfish, music and culture.
The Crawfish Eating Contest was one of the most exciting events of the day. Fest-goers gathered around the stage before each heat to cheer on the eaters.
For the first time this year, Deanie’s welcomed three New Orleans foodies to participate in the contest: Luke Smith, a.k.a foodienola, Morgan Ford of Yelp New Orleans and Louisiana food writer and photographer, Scott Gold.
The crowd was amazed as the winner of the first heat, Waddell (also the runner-up in the previous year’s contest) ate five pounds of boiled crawfish in just 4 minutes and 18 seconds! The second heat was a close round with crawfish eater James finishing first. One of our guest eaters, Luke had only one crawfish left as James raised his empty box. In the final round, James and Waddell were given 15 lbs. of boiled crawfish. Waddell consumed 10-½ lbs. of boiled crawfish in the 10-minute period and was named the 2015 Crawfish Eating Champion! Waddell won a Deanie’s crawfish boil for 20 people and other prizes.
Pinch A Palooza attendees who were not in the contest were also able to enjoy Louisiana crawfish specialties all day including boiled crawfish (more than 5,000 pounds were consumed this year!), fried crawfish tails, fried crawfish balls, crawfish étouffée, crawfish nachos, crawfish sausage and crawfish pasta. In addition, the NOCCA Institute’s Boxcar food truck was on festival grounds selling delicious fare including a Double Patty Melt burger stuffed with your choice of cheese and veggie and pork quesadillas.
Children of all ages enjoyed the free activities all day long in the kid’s area including face painting by Ooops the Clown and the crawfish races, where they chose a Cajun crawfish to cheer on and win great prizes! The casting pool provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries gave little ones the chance to test their skills, while Deanie’s adorable mascot Pincher was available for pictures and selfies.
This year’s lineup of traditional Southern and New Orleans music, including hometown sweetheart Amanda Shaw & The Cute Guys, Louisiana Music Hall of Famer Vince Vance & The Valiants, New Orleans Karma, Cajun Zydeco band Chansons et Soûlards, and Jackson, Miss., bluegrass duo Bill & Temperance had guests dancing in front of the stage and as they waited in line for food and beverages.
As expected, the crowd couldn’t stop smiling and taking pictures and videos with their cell phones when male dance troupe the 610 Stompers broke out their quirky dance moves. And everyone’s eyes were turned to watch the procession as Mardi Gras Indian tribe Big Chief Romeo & the Ninth Ward Hunters made their way down Plaquemines Street to the festival grounds in their traditional feathered and beaded costumes to the sounds of their soulful chants and drumbeats.
We hope you were able to make it out to the sixth-annual Pinch A Palooza, made possible with the help of generous sponsors: Lakeside Toyota, East Jefferson General Hospital Lakeview, Reinhart FoodService, Louisiana Seafood Exchange, New Orleans Firemen’s Federal Credit Union, Abita Beer and Performance Food Group. We look forward to seeing you in 2016 in Bucktown! Click here to see all photos from the day’s events.