By Lindsay Starr Platt, The Belton Journal
Two thousand pounds of crawfish and more than 600 people took over the dining room and patios of Dead Fish Grill Sunday as other patrons braved the rain and cold waiting in line outside eager to get their fill of steaming crawfish. This year was the 2nd Annual Crawfish Festival hosted by Dead Fish Grill and with proceeds benefiting the United Way of Central Texas.
“We are thankful to the Dead Fish Grill and the support they continually give to our community,” said Mary Beth Kelton, strategic marketing and events coordinator, United Way of Central Texas. “The crawfish boil was great and benefits the United Way.”
The 2nd Annual Crawfish Festival was an all day event that started just after Dead Fish Grill wrapped up their weekend brunch, which is every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. After the brunch crowd left people began lining up for the crawfish boil which started at 3 p.m. and went until 9 p.m. which in addition to the all you can eat crawfish, there was live music, vendors, raffles, and a photo booth complete with crawfish themed props.
“Love it, a lot of good food and great music,” said Mark Bennett, Gatesville resident. “I came with my son, and he is loving it and could eat pounds of [crawfish].”
“Music was awesome, crawfish was great and the beers stayed cold,” said Joey Peters, marketing director, Dead Fish Grill. “Huge success, despite the weather not cooperating, but people were able to come and cure their “Cabin Fever.”
Crawfish was brought out to customers all day along with the traditional corn, sausage and potatoes that were thrown in the “boil” also. Red beans and rice were also brought in steaming bowls and a great welcome on the wet dreary day that played host to the event.
Jake Goodin, Brady resident said. “I came here from Brady, Texas to eat crawfish with my friends that live here in Belton. I am originally from Louisiana, so it is awesome to find crawfish here in Central Texas.”
Marion Kraemer, Belton resident, said.”It is great to have something to do here in a small town. I just moved here from Missouri in November, this is wonderful.”
Even though the rain never let up, and the sun never peeked from behind the clouds, patio heaters were turned on and the festive atmosphere never ceased as patrons gobbled up mudbugs and danced to the both the live music and Disc Jockey sounds from the live remote hosted by Jamie Garret of US 105.5 a local country music and hits radio station.
“We were blessed to have the support of the community and the turnout at this event is just another validation that we are doing great things.” said Matthew Taylor, general manager, Dead Fish Grill. “We are proud to be in Belton and we will continue to return the support to the community.”
One of the vendors set up during the festival was the Lake Belton Yacht Club a non-profit group that promotes the sport of sailing in Central Texas.
“We are honored to be on of the vendors at this event and we came here to let the public know we have sailing courses coming up, both a keelboat stating this month and boardboat sailing class which begins in April.” said Charlie Daniel, sailing programs director, Lake Belton Yacht Club. “It is unbelievable on a Sunday evening and with wet weather this place (Dead Fish Grill) is packed for this event.”
“I love bringing the community together.” Peters said. “We are excited to be partnered with the United Way, it is great to have events for the community and to give back to the community. This is the first of several events this year that the Dead Fish Grill wants to bring to Central Texas and we are excited about the support we receive from the community. I would like to thank our sponsors who helped make this fundraiser possible; Fox 44. Pelham Group, Mercedes Benz-Waco, Dickson Ranch and Greene’s Sausage House, who donated the sausage.”
Belton mayor, Marion Grayson said. “Crazy how people stood outside in the rain to get in the door. But, you can’t beat the great fellowship, music and good food.”