On Saturday, August 19th, the Arts & Humanities Council of SWLA and the SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau (Visit Lake Charles) hosted the annual Arts & Crabs Fest at the Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, LA.
After I read in a posting by the Arts & Humanities Council of SWLA that this festival was “recognized for the fifth year in a row as a “Top 20 Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society, AND that funds raised at Arts & Crabs Fest are reinvested back into the SWLA community through the Arts Council’s services and events”, I just knew this was an event I couldn’t miss.
A crab dish competition? Local art? AND funds raised are going towards good things for the community? I’m for all of that. Read on for my Arts & Crabs Fest coverage.
All About Arts & Crabs
A variety of SWLA and Lake Charles artists gathered to sell unique pieces.
Morgan Allain (The Inkling Girl):
My favorite part of the art market was getting to watch live art performances!
Danny Allain (Pigment of Your Imagination):
Debbie Wilfer Pottery (Instagram @debbiewilfer_pottery)
Other vendors included:
Tracy LeMieux (The Art Factory), K Petty Prints, Bon veiller, cher, Jewels by Trish, JM Jewelry Designs, Cajun Moon Jewelry & Gifts, Richarda Mesh, Pelican Sunsets by K Ford, Daneisha Davis (Pixel & Ink Creative), Carolyn Sharp’s Thread Painting, and Wehner GLASS.
Music was provided by Cajun music group Nee de Traditionne (“Born from Tradition”).
Local chefs were invited to submit unique crab creations and compete for the Best Crab Dish 2017. Check out all the delicious submissions below:
The Bekery, LLC: Crab Quiche
Blue Dog Café of Lake Charles: Corn & Crab Bisque
Dat Truck – Elevated Street Food: Crabmeat Ravioli
Hi-Licious Street Kitchen: Pork & Crab Soup Dumpling Mini-Bun
Kiss the Cook Catering: “Petit Doigts” (Sautéed Crab Fingers)
Luna Bar & Grill: Galactic Crab Dip
OnGoMex, LLC: Caribbean Crab Tostada
PJ’s Coffee Lake Charles: Crab & Tasso Cheesecake
Rikenjaks Brewing Company: Crab Oscar Styled Donut
Roly Poly Sandwiches Lake Charles: Shrimp & Corn Bisque
The Sloppy Taco: Soft Shell Crab Quesadilla
Sloppy’s Downtown: Corn & Crab Fritter
The Velvet Pig: Crab, Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Pastry
And The Winner Is…..
Congratulations to The Sloppy Taco for winning the Arts & Crabs Fest Best Crab Dish 2017! Their Soft Shell Crab Quesadilla stole the show with its crabby flavor and delicious sauces! They will be featuring the quesadilla on their menu for the next few weeks, so pay them a visit to give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.
To compliment the crab dishes, Crying Eagle Brewery provided all the beer samples, which were brewed right here in Lake Charles.
While the Arts & Crabs Festival 2017 was an enjoyable event, I have three minor changes I would personally make:
Have better organization for the food competition.
The pre-sale ticket line to get into the festival was so long it extended outdoors into the Louisiana heat and was stagnant for quite some time. I think it would’ve help if more than one set of doors was utilized for entry, or if the line for the competition dishes was situated further away from the event entry point.
Ditch the monetary vote, or at least advertise that it costs money to cast a vote.
I was extremely excited about getting to vote for what I thought was the Best Crab Dish until I saw that it was a monetary vote. While I can understand that this was probably done for fundraising purposes, I feel that this one part of the event should not have been done as such. I would instead give each attendee a single voting ticket so that they can cast their vote for one favorite dish. This, in my opinion, would give a more accurate account of the best dish instead of possibly producing skewed results.
Go back to crab only dishes.
I understand that this was the first year that “area chefs [were] invited to showcase the diversity of Louisiana’s shellfish industry through the presentation of any seafood dish”, however, I think that allowance should be reserved for a broader “seafood” festival. With this being the Arts & Crabs Festival, I look forward to seeing a wide variety of crab creativity.
I firmly believe in continued growth and constructive criticism. I also hold pride in my honest opinion! This is Shalin’s 10 Cents after all, no?
While this was my first year attending the Arts & Crabs Festival, according to several attendees I had the pleasure of speaking with, there have been many improvements over the past years. I’m already looking forward to the improvements to come and attending the Arts & Crabs Festival 2018. SWLA is truly a culinary hidden treasure so I absolutely loved having the opportunity to sample a wide variety of dishes from local eateries all under one roof!
Keep it classy and crabby,
All photos taken by me, Shalin.