As crawfish season rolls in, Southerners are embracing what the season has to offer, including feasts of pounds of hot, seasoned crawfish. The Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood Association (HHNA) organized its 17th annual Downtown Crawfish Jam presented by Southern Beverages Co.
Typical crawfish festivals host unique music consistent with the Cajun theme. The downtown jam will include a variety of entertaining sounds like zydeco, bluegrass, a brass band and cover music. Along with the crawfish, the city will host its annual music event on April 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Walthall Park.
The live music event will showcase acts like Her and the Hymns, Corey Ledet and His Zydeco Band, Margie Perez and Her Funky Boys, The Brass-A-Holics and the 6550’s.
The Downtown Crawfish Jam will not only offer music and boiled crawfish, but also a variety of other foods and a Kid’s Zone with slides and jumps for children of all ages. The event will continue to offer its family-friendly atmosphere.
“The Downtown Crawfish Jam has done a tremendous job at drawing attention to living downtown and what it means to the historic neighborhood to be a part of that community,” said Andrea Saffle, executive director of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association.
To kick off the downtown jam, the USM Council Psychology Student Government will host its third Annual Voodoo Zombie 5K run Saturday starting at 8 a.m. in downtown Hattiesburg. The 5K will end at Walthall Park at 9:30 a.m.
Tickets for the crawfish jam can be bought for $35 in advance at www.thegooutpage.com, T-Bones Records and Signs First. Advance tickets include adult admission plus all-you-can-eat and drink.
Valid ID is required at the gate to receive the all-you-can-drink beer wristband. Day of the event tickets will be $45 for adults and children 12 and under are admitted free and get a limited food ticket. Take-out plates, animals and coolers are prohibited from the event.
Crawfish will be guaranteed until 3 p.m. only, as stated by a press release from HHNA and Southern Beverages Co. With 2014’s event holding the highest attendance it has ever had, it was voted as the best Outdoor Party by Festival South and Signature Magazine.
“This year, we have had the most advertising and media coverage, all the pieces have come together,” HHNA President Brian Saffle said.
Much of the proceeds collected from the event will go toward upkeep of the Walthall property. A share will go to Extra Table, a Hattiesburg non-profit organization that provides nutritious food to food pantries and soup kitchens throughout Mississippi. Parking for the event will be available at the Sacred Heart High School campus located at the corner of West Pine and 2nd Avenue, as well as the church parking lot.
Grove Transit will shuttle people back and forth between the parking lots and the Walthall Park throughout the day. Walnut Street will be closed off between Hall Avenue and Rebecca Avenue. Rebecca Avenue will be closed between Walnut Street and Court Street.
“The event will go on rain or shine,” Saffle said. “We are looking to accommodate the people attending the event with the rental of three 20’ x 40’ tents, three 20’ x 20’ tents and one 40’ x 100’ tent.”
“Even if it rains, there is no place you can go to listen to five top-notch bands—three of which will be playing at Jazz Fest this year—get all-you-can-eat crawfish, hamburgers, hot dogs, all-you-can-drink soft drinks and beer and have a place where your kids can play without the worry of them running into the street,” Saffle said.
“It is very family-oriented and the best bang for your buck as any event that I have ever been to.”