For the eighth year, the FishHawk-Riverview Rotary Club is putting on its premiere annual event this weekend, trucking in about 2,500 pounds of fresh Louisiana crawfish for local consumption.
While the crawfish is in high demand and really requires an advanced dinner purchase, there will be plenty more to consume, as well, including gumbo, jambalaya and etouffée. For those who don’t do spicy, hot dogs and burgers will also be for sale. And a variety of dessert trucks will be on site.
What’s new this year? Sponsorships that will help the club to more than double its take, meaning more charitable contributions in the community, said organizer Lisa Jordan.
“We have a title sponsor this year — Christopher Ligori and Associates, with a $10,000 contribution,” she said. “I started the sponsorship program this year because, in the past, we got only a few small sponsorships. This year, we’ve already raised over $19,000, and we haven’t even ordered the crawfish yet.”
The FishHawk-Riverview Rotary Club has set a goal of $30,000 for this year.
Sponsors’ names will be prominently featured at the festival, which takes place Saturday, April 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Winthrop Town Centre, 11109 Winthrop Market St., Riverview near the intersection of Providence Road and Bloomingdale Avenue.
“We also have a band for the adults and free games and activities for the kids. And for every kid who brings in a nonperishable food item for ECHO (Emergency Care Help Organization), there’s a free hot dog,” Jordan said.
“We’ve also become partners with Born to Ride, so there will be motorcycle show,” she added. “It is a group that does shows all over the country. Ron Galleti is founder and he and his wife live here. He happens to be neighbors with one of our members. This member has been talking for three years about how we need to get a bike show, so, now, we’ve got one.”
Head crawfish chef Mike Broussard said the crawfish will be coming in just before festival time. “We are getting them from the same place we always do, D&T Crawfish in Abbeville, La. The owners, Don and Trisha Benoit, who own D&T, will drive them down themselves. They came last year and had so much fun they decided to come again this year.”
As usual, all proceeds go to local charities. The Rotary Club provides scholarships to local students and has a dictionary project that gives dictionaries to fourth graders.
“We also do international projects,” Jordan said. “We just had 14 or 15 Rotarians return from Honduras where they installed latrines. Last year, they went to Honduras and installed clean water filtration systems, all with money we raised locally. Club members pay their own way. And the club also sponsored some teenagers to go along and help.”
Among local charities the club donates to are ECHO, the Sylvia Thomas Center, which works with families who adopt children, and the Brandon Outreach Clinic, which provides medical services to people who have no insurance.
Last year, the club raised about $13,000, but with the sponsor program, it hopes to more than double that number this year.
Crawfish dinners can be ordered in advance for $25 at www.luvcrawfish.com. “We highly recommend reserving a dinner because we do anticipate selling out,” Jordan said.