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Skyway's Crawdad Festival is back posted on 08/02/2022

Tracie Anderson, co-owner of the Skyway Bar and Grill with Tom Baker, traces the roots of their annual Crawdad Festival to her mom and dad, who started the tradition more than 25 years ago.

“It was always friends and family gathering, barbequing and boiling up crawdads,” she said.

After the pair bought the Skyway in 2000, they thought it would serve as a great venue for the event, and the family agreed.

“That’s when it changed from a party to a festival,” Baker said.

Now in its 17th iteration (due to a few years off from the pandemic and from the widening of Hwy. 26), the festival is back on Saturday, Aug. 20 and Sunday, Aug. 21.

The event features approximately 550 pounds of crawdads, cooked Louisiana style, and turned into various dishes, from po’ boys to gumbo to barbeque.

In keeping with its roots, a crew of family and friends volunteer to set things up and get the party started.

“It’s really been a tradition for a lot of families,” Anderson said. “It’s something we all mark our calendars for.”

In addition to the crawdads (which necessitate an extra refrigerator at the restaurant), the festival offers spicy corn and potatoes, plus a face painter, t-shirts featuring designs by Baker, a “wheel of fun” and live music from noon until close on both days.

There is a $5 entry fee for the festival (kids 12 and under are free), with food items priced individually (crawdads can be purchased as part of a meal or by the pound).

And despite securing approximately a quarter ton of crawdads, people are encouraged to enjoy them while they last, as there aren’t usually any leftovers.

“This year is extra special, we’ve been feeling so strange the past couple years, not getting together,” Anderson said. “So this is going to be a good one.”

The music lineup for the Crawdad Festival includes: the Mojo Band (Funk Jazz) from noon - 3 p.m., Chervona (Vagabonding gypsy folk-punk) from 3:30-5:30 p.m., and  the Pagan Jug Band (zydeco) 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20; and  the Pagan Jug Band (Zydeco) from noon - 2 p.m., the Reverb Brothers (Swamp Rock) from 2:30-5 p.m. and Blue Flags & Black Grass (Old Timey) from 5:30-8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21.

The Skyway Bar and Grill is located at 71545 Hwy. 26 in Zigzag. For more information, call 503-622-3775, find the restaurant's page on Facebook or visit https://skywaybarandgrill.com/.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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