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Anytime 8,000 people show up to a party, you know it’s going to be good. The annual Lowcountry Cajun Festival was no exception, and partygoers turned out in droves to James Island County Park for an afternoon honoring The Big Easy.

Zydeco music sounded throughout the park, getting guests in the festival mood as they made their way in to the party. The scent of delicious and spicy Cajun and Creole food wafted on the breeze, and long lines quickly formed at all the food booths - which respectively offered everything from gourmet popsicles and jambalaya to fried gator tail and donuts. The beer line was only slightly shorter, and partygoers prowled the green for a spot to set up their lawn chairs. 

The afternoon was warm but breezy, and band after band took the main stage while guests perused the various good available for sale or gravitated toward the carnival rides on the far side of the green. 

Soon it was time for one of the afternoon’s main festivities: a crawfish eating contest. Competitors had 30 seconds to eat as many crawfish as they could, and the contest featured 8 heats of 6 people. The sight was both entertaining and slightly terrifying, as some contestants resorted to eating the crawfish whole, shells and all. A large crowd cheered them on, however, heckling the slower and more dainty eaters.

The party went on late into the afternoon, with Charlestonians and visitors alike basking in the sun after eating their full. Partygoer Jackie Grisaffe, a Louisiana native, announced, “I came all the way in just for this festival. I come every year, and it’s amazing!”

The Lowcountry Cajun Festival benefits the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission, which was founded in 1968. The Charleston County Parks and Recreation strives to improve the quality of life in Charleston County by offering a diverse system of park facilities, programs, and services.