Southeast Georgia is home to a host of food festivals from the Shrimp & Grits festival on Jekyll Island to the Catfish Festival in Kingsland, Georgia but probably the most unique food festival is the Crawfish Festival in Woodbine, Georgia. Held each year on the last weekend in April, this festival features the lowly crawfish cooked in a variety of ways from etouffe to low country boil.
I attended the festival with my wife and daughter and the first order of business was to find parking near the festival location at the Woodbine waterfront. Since we attended on Friday evening to avoid the hectic crowds of Saturday, finding parking wasn’t an issue. We parked on a side street directly in front of the Woodbine mural painted on the side of a building. This mural depicts the history of Woodbine during the 1800s including scenes of men floating timber down the Satilla River and other activities related to the Naval stores industry which once dominated the local economy.
We next walked down to the waterfront park and immediately were confronted with the sites, sounds, and smells of the Woodbine Crawfish Festival. We immediately got in the line for the crawfish etouffe. I usually eat the crawfish low country boil but this year decided to try the etouffe. Honestly, I just wasn’t in the mood to get all messy peeling crawfish so the etouffe seemed a better choice!
A nice black lady took my $7 and spooned in a layer of white rice into a styrofoam container and then added a heaping of the spicy crawfish and shrimp etouffe mixture. I next grabbed a cup of sweet tea and then found a place to sit at a nearby picnic table. I dug into the dinner which was quite spicy and very tasty. The crawfish and shrimp etouffe was a great choice.
After finishing my meal we decided to check out some of the other food vendors since neither my wife nor daughter were much interested in sampling the crawfish. The food vendors included typical carnival food from gator tail kabobs and bloomin’ onions to corn dogs and funnel cakes. They decided to wait to see what other options were available on the boardwalk so we headed over to the live music stage and found a seat on some nearby bleachers.
A band was performing classic rock tunes on-stage. They were quite good and my three year old daughter thought so too because she started performing all her best dance moves. The other spectators were quite entertained. After a couple songs we decided to continue walking around see what else the festival had to offer.
We headed to the boardwalk entrance located directly behind the stage. The boardwalk goes along the south bank of the Satilla River and underneath the U.S. 17 bridge to an old railroad track that has been repurposed and paved to become an extension of the boardwalk. It is here, on the old railroad bed, where the arts and crafts vendors have their tents set up selling all kinds of wares.
The pathway was lined with vendors selling everything from alligator jerky to soy candles. My daughter’s favorite booth, though, belonged to the local sheriff who was handing out free helium balloons and glow-in-the-dark bracelets.
When we got to the end of the Riverwalk we found the children’s amusement area. Here were located various children’s activities including a petting zoo, pony rides, a bounce house and more. We headed to the petting zoo first. For a fee of $3 you could enter a small fenced-in area including baby goats, rabbits, and sheep. My daughter had lots of fun petting the rabbits and goats.
Next we headed to the pony rides. My daughter loves horses and whenever she can ride one it always makes for a good day. I paid the $5 fee and after circling the ring a few times on her chosen pony, she dismounted to let another group of kids have a turn.
The final activity was the bounce house. This was quite an elaborate bounce house with a climbing wall, slides, and various other air-filled amusements. I paid the $3 entry fee and my daughter (along with her mother) entered the bounce house for five minutes of fun.
After exiting the bounce house we walked towards the last few vendors who were selling everything from shaved ice to barbecue. From here we headed back to our car, having thoroughly enjoyed a couple hours at the Crawfish Festival in Woodbine, Georgia for a grand total of $18.