You don’t want to crawfish out of this festival
Springtime in Texas means milder temperatures, beautiful wild flowers, Easter, going outdoors, and maybe most importantly, the beginning of crawfish season!
The folks in Mauriceville have been knowing how to celebrate the season for more than three decades now and this year is no exception. The 34th annual Mauriceville Crawfish Festival will be held from April 11-13 at the crawfish festival grounds, 7441 Cohenour Road off of Highway 62.
Hours for Friday will be 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday will be 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to Karen Keath, president of the festival board.
Tickets will cost $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and students and free to children 5 and under. Tickets, however, will be $7 across the board after 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Sponsors for the festival is David Self Ford, David Self Tractors, David Self Boats and Daily Green of Family Health Center.
The parade will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday and proceed down Highway 12. The parade theme is Beau Garcon’ in Boots and Pearls.
This year’s parade marshals are Jeff and Teresa Viator.
“We are excited and honored to be chosen as the 2014 Mauriceville Crawfish Festival Parade Marshals,” Teresa said.
Jeff has lived in Mauriceville since the age of 3. He graduated from Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School.
Teresa is a graduate of Bridge City High School. One of their earliest dates was at the first Mauriceville Crawfish Festival 34 years ago when they were high school sweethearts.
They have been happily married for 31 years and have three daughters- Jennifer, Julianne and Jace- and a new son-in-law, Shayne Seago who is married to Jennifer, Teresa said.
“Through the years we have supported our community, volunteering as little league football and cheer leading coaches. We have also been avid supporters of the Mauriceville Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner and, of course, the crawfish festival,” she said.
For several years they coached and served as groundskeepers for the Orange Crush softball team, featuring their daughter, Julianne. Teresa also volunteered as home room mom for many her daughters’ classes during their years as Mauriceville students.
Teresa added the Viators have been involved with benefits for family and friends, barbecue cook-offs and they have provided hardy and delicious tailgating meals for the Lamar University Softball team and fans. Daughter Julianne is also on the Lamar team.
“When it come to the community, we are always enthusiastic and more than willing to lend a helping hand,” Teresa said.
The Viators are members of St. Mauriceville Catholic Church where Teresa served as a CCD teacher for the youth program.
Jess is a paint contractor and owner of J&J Painting. Together, the couple owns JT’s Country Cottage rental property.
Teresa was in banking for 30 years and now manages the rental property business and she is bookkeeper for J&J Painting.
They both enjoy hunting, fishing, gardening, spending time with family and friends and giving back to the community.
The entertainment lineup for the festival is as follows:
Friday: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. is Driving Dixie
Saturday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Cadillacs, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Creole Cooking, and 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Jamie Talbert and Band of Demons
Sunday: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. is Tyler Darby
The crawfish eating contest will start at 2 p.m., crawfish races at 3 p.m. and a duck calling contest all day on Saturday.
Carnival rides will be from Friday through Sunday.
There will also be 15 food vendors and 30 craft vendors.
Preparation cooking for the barbecue cook-off starts on Friday night. The judging will be done on Saturday with the winners announced at 3 p.m.
The festival has partnered with Budweiser this year and no coolers will be allowed inside. Proceeds from sales will assist with school fund-raising.
The festival is a volunteer nonprofit organization, Keath explained, and proceeds go back into maintaining the festival grounds and community center and also upgrading the property such as doing electrical work.
Some of the carnival grounds property has been donated to several youth organizations such as Orange County Livestock/4-H and the Mauriceville Youth Football Association has a field there. The select softball tame has property there too.
Keath said she hopes to have clear and beautiful weather for the festival, but they’ll still have the festival, rain or shine, as they have done the past 34 years.
The late Amos Roy, one of the original crawfish farmers to grow mud bugs in a rice environment, had the idea for a festival in 1980, according to a prior Record article. He was assisted in his efforts by Owen Burton and Wesley Arabie.
Mary Jane Johnson, festival co-organizer since those early days, says Roy got together with then-state Rep. Wayne Peveto and somehow had Gov. Mark White name Mauriceville the Crawfish Capital of Texas.
It then became clear to Roy and others and event was needed.
“At the time there was a rice farmers’ organization in the Golden Triangle, and he went before them and they more or less laughed at him,” Johnson said.
Soon, however, efforts quickly kicked in.
The rest is history.