Thousands of pounds of crawfish, gallons upon gallons of gumbo, hot dogs and chips, Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream, Fairhope Brewing Co. and of course bluegrass! Yes, this is my favorite time of year, when the St. Mary’s Knights of Columbus hold their 15th annual Crawfish and Bluegrass Extravaganza.

This afternoon and evening of happiness will be held rain or shine Saturday, April 1, 4-9 p.m. on the grounds of St. Mary Catholic School.

The corner of Old Shell and North Lafayette will be oozing with seafood and live music as Fat Man Squeeze (playing for our 14th consecutive year) and Delta Reign take the stage. There’s a bit of a departure from the “bluegrass only” lineup, with our buddies The Modern Eldorados bringing their rockabilly sound. The evening will be capped off with punk band Black Irish Texas headlining.

Proceeds from this event will benefit Veterans Recovery Resources, which provides mental wellness and addiction recovery services to all veterans who need help.

Advance tickets are $30 per person, $35 at the gate. High school students aged 13-18 go for $15 at the gate and children 12 and under get in free. Tickets are available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2880795 or in person at Zoghby’s Uniforms locations, Mobile Popcorn Co., St. Mary School and Picker’s Paradise.

ODWA plant swap
It’s time for the 2017 Old Dauphin Way Association’s Plant Swap, Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to noon. The event is a stress-free way to exchange plants (including herbs, fruits, veggies, flowers, etc.) in the parking lot of Central Presbyterian Church at 1260 Dauphin St., across from the Alabama School of Math and Science.

For each plant you bring you can take home another of your choosing. It’s a great way to meet like-minded folks who are into plants and pick up something less familiar. Visit www.odwa.org for more information.

Cajun Cook-Off huge success
The numbers aren’t in yet for the amounts raised for the Child Advocacy Center of Mobile, but the teams have been awarded. This past Saturday, the 3rd annual Downtown Cajun Cook-Off had people lined up around Cathedral Square waiting for the gates to open. When the 10 a.m. bell rang, the ticket holders were treated to the best food yet, with lots of rice, crawfish, shrimp and Conecuh in almost every dish.

In the judges’ tent we were treated to four dishes every 15 minutes and I think we got the top three correct. As a blind judge, I had to go out and see who created the spectacular plates and the winners were not such a surprise.

The mix of actual restaurants versus a few non-restaurant teams proved to be a level playing field with the judges. Third place went to The Brickyard for their incredible sliders that were so good I set my tastings to the side so I could finish them later. The Garage may as well open a restaurant because I think they’ve placed every year. This year their trio of pistolettes (stuffed with gumbo Z’erb, a pork and rice version and a crawfish étouffée with cheese) took second.

Dauphin’s Steve Zucker and friends were the only actual restaurant to place but his shrimp étouffée had a dark roux that was unmatched. Every judge in the tent commented about it.

All three were fantastic. Next year will be even better!

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