‘Enjoying the destination’: Crawfish Festival returns to Fountain Valley
Some say the best things in life are free, but that can largely be subject to situational application.
A crawfish enthusiast won’t likely see it that way, knowing full well that there is a cost for what they want most.
The labor of getting through the shell to get to the savory goodness did not deter the public from returning to the Crawfish Festival, held Friday through Sunday at Fountain Valley Sports Park.
Troy Howard, a Chatsworth resident, has visited the festival regularly since the years it was held in Long Beach prior to the coronavirus pandemic. He found himself first in line as a fresh batch of crawfish was being prepared, eagerly awaiting a 2-pound feast to share with his wife, Aurita.
“You have to put in the work,” said Howard, who added the crawfish is not simply going to pop into your mouth if the words “open sesame” are uttered. “If you actually dive in and put in the work, twist, open, take that meat, suck that juice, you’re going to have a full enjoyment of that experience. You’ll forget about the journey to that experience because you’re really enjoying the destination of that experience.”
Reminiscent of a dining hall, scores of people sat along lengthy tables enjoying their crawfish, as well as items such as alligator bites, frog legs, roasted corn and shrimp from other vendors. Treats like churros and funnel cakes topped it all off for dessert.
The Bill Magee Blues Band provided the entertainment end of the dinner-and-a-show combo Sunday evening. Saxophone player Walter Gentry came off the stage and worked the crowd.
Magee, a New York native who performed with Jimi Hendrix in the band “Jimmy James and the Flames,” said he felt his band was well received by a diverse crowd. He added that he had played at the festival before, but this marked the first time since it relocated to Fountain Valley.
“The job of a musician is to make people feel good, get them up dancing and make them forget about their problems that they may have, just for a little while,” Magee said. “If you can make them forget about whatever problems they have for a little while, then you’ve done your job.”
Shortly after Magee’s group concluded its performance, the crowd was further engaged with a rendition of “Oh When the Saints Go Marching In,” as well as a costume contest and a collaboration incorporating whistles.
The Original Lobster Festival will return to Fountain Valley Sports Park Sept. 8 through 10.
Rob Frizzelle, the community services director for Fountain Valley, said an unfavorable weather forecast impacted attendance Saturday.
“We still had a great turnout,” Frizzelle said. “It’s really a food festival, and that’s what people are coming out for. Summerfest, that we also have during the year, which is the city’s largest celebration and a kickoff to summer, it’s more of a ride festival, games, and that’s what people come for.
“Crawfish is the opposite. People are there for crawfish, and we have people come from all over California, and when we get the data back, I’m sure we’re going to have people from multiple states that have visited for this event.”
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