The air was thick with a light breeze that twirled through the crowd every few minutes. The zydeco beat, pulsing through feet and shoulders mingled with notes of paprika and oregano, cayenne and crawfish.
The music was powerful, the people were happy, the Abita was plentiful- Town Point Park transformed into a would be Louisiana fairground! This was the 26th annual Bayou Boogaloo and Cajun Food Festival in Norfolk.
AltDaily: What do you like best about the Bayou Boogaloo?
“The food and the music! Big Sam’s Funky Nation was good,” – Kaitlin, Virginia Beach
“Being from south Dakota, its our first time here and we like how everybody’s mixing so well.”
“We love the music, we don’t always hear that kind of thing back home.”
Gary and Gloria, Black Hills/Rapid City, South Dakota
Ladies in Bag Hats: Lauren & Candace
What’s the best thing to eat at the Boogaloo this year?
“The Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese.” – Andrea, Virginia beach
“Boiled Crawfish.” – Tori, Virginia Beach
I had a distinct urge to eat everything in sight, but there was so much to try. Of the things I shared, my favorite was the Crawfish Pie with Shrimp Etoufee from Couyon’s Cajun Cookin’. It was rich and spicy with a light pastry crust- and the kind of heat that stuck around in your mouth for awhile.
Boudain Balls and Crawfish Pie from Couyon’s Cajun Cookin’ of New Orleans
I also tried their Boudain Balls which were good and the Yaka-Mein which was a cool Cajun spin on a noodle and broth bowl, but it was a bit too salty for me. My one regret is that I never got to try a Beignet or that famous Crawfish Mac-n-Cheese.
What is your favorite aspect of Louisiana culture
“Probably the food- the spices the freshness. The zydeco music. I’ve been to the festival probably about fifteen times.” – Mike, Norfolk
“The music. It’s fun and it makes you want to get up and dance.” – Sharon, Virginia beach
While I’d been to the Boogaloo before, this was the first year I came back multiple times over the course of the weekend. The crowd was significantly bigger for Saturday night, and the lines for food were about four times the length they were the night before.
This year’s Fest seemed to have a lot of families in attendance. In fact, the kids even provided some entertainment. During Shakey Graves’ fantastic set on Saturday, we noticed a toddler in a homemade paper bag hat who was dancing like a wild man to every song. About 25 feet from him was another little girl, literally jumping up and down to the beat of the drum.
Rainbow Mohawk dude and his folks: Demitrius, Demitrius Jr. and Maevelynn
As a kid who grew up going to many festivals at Town Point Park, I tend to judge the success of an event by how much fun the kids are having, and in the Boogaloo’s case I’d say they knocked it outta the park! Great music, flavorful food and a friendly atmosphere. Don’t miss the Bayou Boogaloo next time around!