Crawfish and crowds mark Lowcountry Cajun Festival

Craig Browdy ate 32 crawfish in 30 seconds Sunday to win the eating contest at the Lowcountry Cajun Festival.

How many crawfish does it take to win an eating contest at the Lowcountry Cajun Festival?

Thirty-two in 30 seconds, apparently. Craig Browdy threw his arms in the air Sunday after he was declared the winner. He was one of eight finalists in the contest and one of thousands of people at the festival, which is in its 25th year at James Island County Park.

“This is a new personal record,” Browdy said.

He was wearing a crawfish visor over his ball cap and a bead necklace with crawfish decor as he described what it was like to win. It’s his fifth year participating in the eating contest and his second win — the first was about four years ago, he said.

“It’s all in the technique,” he said. “I’ve been studying crawfish for years.”

There was an abundance of Cajun Louisiana cuisine at the festival, along with live music and kids activities, including carnival rides and inflatable rides. Dale Booker said he holds a season pass to the event because it’s nice to get the family out.

“It’s good, it’s something to do and to bring the kids out to,” the James Island resident said. “My wife likes the drinking, I love to eat and the kids love to ride.”

Jessica Lindsey, 8, of West Ashley, said she most enjoys the swing ride at the festival, but that she was also looking forward to eating a lot of crawfish. She is a third grader at Drayton Hall Elementary School.

“I enjoy being here with my mommy and I enjoy the rides here and going to see what rides I can ride,” she said.

Sarah Reynolds, public information coordinator for Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission said the weather this year was perfect and the turnout was great. Skies were clear and it was sunny with temperatures in the low 70s.

There were 7,765 people at the festival, she said, adding that record attendance was set in 2013 with 9,524 people.

“It’s basically just celebrating Cajun and Creole culture and food and music,” she said of the festival. “People are just out enjoying the weather ... enjoying the food and the music and the beginning of spring in Charleston.”

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