Breaux Bridge is the Crawfish Capital of the World as decreed by Louisiana Governor Earl K. Long in 1959. The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival began in 1959 and the party honoring the red swamp crawfish (Procambarus clarkii)hasn’t stopped yet.
But the oldest crawfish festival in the United States is in Tualatin, Oregon. How did that happen? A convergence of nature and building construction.
In 1951, a new VFW hall was built on Seneca Street in Tualatin, the same year, the American Signal Crawfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus)species was in serious overabundance in the Tualatin River. The Oregonians, in a moment of brilliance, decided to have a crawfish festival to celebrate the opening of the new VFW hall. (Sounds remarkably like Louisiana , doesn’t it? Let’s have a party! Just add crawfish, beer and music!
The Tualatin Crawfish Festival will be held this summer from Aug. 5 to Aug. 7.Attractions at the Crawfish Festival include an all-you-can-eat crawfish contest, a “Crawfish Crawl” distance run, and Oregon microbrew and wine sampling.
Last year, more than one and a half tons of crawfish were consumed at the festival, according to organizers. Attendance was measured at 17,865, a record for the festival. Well, Breaux Bridge has them beat there – crawfish lovers consume between 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of boiled crawfish. And that’s not counting the hundreds of pounds of crawfish etouffee served by festival vendors. Over the three day event, Breaux Bridge attracts more than 50,000 visitors to festival headquarters in Parc Hardy on Ress Street.
Back to Oregon crawfish trail – the Tualatin Crawfish Festival begins with a free night of activities at the Tualatin Commons from 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 5. Events will be held at Tualatin Community Park from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Aug. 6 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 7.
“We are excited for the 66th year of the festival,” said Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden in a news release. “Last year was another fantastic year. The recent changes made to the festival have invigorated it and we are excited to announce the dates for 2016.”