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The SCENE Magazine

The City of Kemah Presents The Kemah Crawfish Festival • April 15-17

Apr 10, 2011 09:34PM ● By John Ennis

Benefitting Houston PBS  •  Under the Kemah Bridge

The Kemah Crawfish Festival showcases the sights, the music, great tastes, and above all, the fun that is Kemah, the Gateway to the Bay. The three-day festival takes place under the iconic Kemah Bridge, truly welcoming all into the city. In addition to serving hot, fresh crawfish at $2 a pound throughout the festival, Kemah will also offer tasty Cajun dishes and classic festival fare.

The area’s hottest Zydeco, Classic Rock, and Country bands provide the infectious rhythms where the bayou meets the bay. The boat launch will be transformed into The Pirate’s Cove with costumed performers and activities. Marie Laveau will bring Voodoo magic and mystery. Crawfish races, crawfish eating contests, and more will continue throughout the event. Performers will mingle with vendors of gifts, arts and crafts. A children’s area will provide plenty of activities and fun for kids. All of Kemah will join in presenting their city, their food, their music, and all that makes life here so special. The Kemah Crawfish Festival takes the friendly, relaxed fun and community feel of a small town fair and, like the City of Kemah, serves it up big.

$2-A-Pound Crawfish: The festival is bringing in the best farm-raised crawfish the state of Louisiana has to offer at a great price when the season is really getting underway and the craving for crawfish is at its peak. The crawfish will be handled by James Wimberley, the Cajun King of Cookers. James was born and raised in southwest Louisiana in the heart of Cajun country, and has been farming and cooking crawfish and Cajun food for more than 35 years. Legend has it, he caught his first crawfish when he was only 3. From that auspicious beginning, he has grown to farming his own fresh crawfish on 2,000 acres in Eunice, Louisiana. Creating his own spicing secrets, he is in high demand as a crawfish boiler across the Gulf Coast. The secret of his spices and methods are hotly pursued by many, but never duplicated. James is one of the top boilers at Festival International in Lafayette, festivals from Texas to Alabama, and has catered at the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion.

The Site: The Kemah Bridge is one of the best known landmarks of the Bay Area, where Clear Lake meets Galveston Bay. A large, level, paved area that serves the public boat ramp provides a natural site for festivals. The bridge provides a striking backdrop as well as shade for patrons. The area will be decorated with nets, crab traps, boats, hawser and other nautical elements.

Accommodations: Kemah hotels have offered special rates to guests attending the Kemah Crawfish Festival. Visit for more information.

Attractions: Pirate’s Cove: The public boat ramp will be transformed into a smugglers’ landing, the rousing haunt of freebooters of a bygone age who found hidden coves on the Texas coast. Enjoy special vendors and displays of pirate and nautical wares in the company of John Lafitte, Blackbeard, Calico Jack Rackham, Henry Morgan, and Bartholomew Roberts. Kemah Ghost Tours Presents Marie Laveau’s Voodoo Garden: Explore the mysterious world of Voodoo with history’s most celebrated practitioner in an exciting and haunting display with craft vendors, palm readers, fortune tellers, and more.

Festival Vendors: The festival will feature rows of vendors with the best of arts, crafts, gifts and more from Kemah and around the country. Food Vendors: Besides crawfish there will be great tasting Cajun dishes, seafood, and traditional festival food.

Children’s Area: Attendees with children will enjoy how busy this area will keep their kids and having fun. There will also be games for all ages such as the Rock Climbing Wall and Monster Water Balls.

Concert Stage: Enjoy regional Zydeco, Country and Classic Rock bands.

The Greek Festival Stage: The Clear Lake Greek Festival – an area institution for 18 years – will provide traditional dance and novelty acts embracing the cultures that have helped shape the entertainment of the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast.

SPECIAL EVENT STAGE Gulf Greyhound Park Presents The Crawfish Races: John Paul Faour (the voice of Gulf Greyhound Park) will announce the races. Park officials will oversee the weigh-ins and make sure the Texas State and International rules of crawfish racing are followed.

Crawfish Eating Contest: Contestants compete for the championship over the three days of the event. The finals will be held on Sunday, with the Crowning of the Kemah Crawfish Champion to follow. It ain't just about the eating; you have to get to the meat before you start to eat. The crawfish will be weighed before and after; the contestant with the most weight eaten in the allotted time will win. If you want to be really fast, you don't have to peel ‘em – but we recommend you do.

Volunteer for the Kemah Crawfish Festival: Volunteers enjoy a great time working on a fun event with dedicated people and learning about production of a major festival. If you are interested in volunteering contact: [email protected]

About Houston PBS: Houston PBS serves to empower, engage and enrich the lives of the people of Southeast Texas. To that end, Houston PBS provides a varied schedule made up of national Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) programming; award-winning locally produced programming; college courses; and select acquired programs. Beyond broadcast, their facility is also a site for town hall meetings, national videoconference broadcasts, and a variety of innovative community educational and outreach programs. Houston PBS was America's first public television station and was one of the founding stations of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in 1969. Houston PBS is supported primarily by viewer contributions with additional money coming from grants, special events and corporate sponsorships. The Association for Community Broadcasting (ACB) is a non-profit 501(c)3 support organization for KUHT.