Pinch tails, suck heads and drink beer during the fourth Great Southwest Cajun Fest on Saturday, April 21, at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park in Chandler.
The family-friendly fest features a full day of food, live music and cultural activities. Presented by HDE Agency and sponsored by Abita Brewing Company, the afternoon offers a festive atmosphere that celebrates the Southeastern region of Louisiana.
“We love working in the downtown Chandler area,” says Jen Pruett, HDE’s public and media relations director.
“We hold a lot of our events there. We have a great relationship with the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership and they give us a lot of support. They also do a sponsorship by allowing us to use the park and we utilize the nonprofit side of the Downtown Chandler Community Foundation as a benefactor of our event.”
Last year’s event attracted 10,000 people; this year 12,000 fans are projected. Pruett thanks the vendors like Angry Crab Shack, Honey Bears BBQ and Creole Cajun Bistro for some of the success.
“All the vendors for this event really bring it,” she says. “They bring out their best Southern Cajun-style food.”
Southern dishes will include regional delicacies like fried gator, crawfish boil, catfish, jambalaya, frog legs, etouffee, lobster rolls, creole shrimp, hush puppies, red beans and rice and Southern-style cocktails. There will also be wing-, crawfish- and watermelon-eating competitions, with gift cards or cash prizes. Kids won’t feel left out either, as there are children’s activities.
Abita has been sponsoring the Great Southwest Cajun Fest for four years.
“We will have over 10 beer varietals at the fest, plus our nonalcoholic root beer that will be in the kids’ zone and available for those who don’t drink or want beer,” says Jennifer Stavros, West Coast area manager for Abita.
Two new Abita products will be launched during the fest – Hop On, a juicy pale ale, and 30° 90°, a crisp gold lager. The Louisiana brewer counts more than 30 beers in its hoppy portfolio.
“We’re so excited to have a marquee event in Chandler every year that showcases Abita,” Stavros says. “I always get great stories from people about Abita from New Orleans, so it’s great to have more stories to share from the Cajun Fest.”
Live music will rock the fest, too. The headlining act is the eight-piece brass ensemble The Soul Rebels, who blend soul and funk with hip hop, jazz and rock. Other bands entertaining at the fest include Little Hurricane from San Diego; The Urban Renewal Project, a Los Angeles-based act with 15 millennial musicians; Funkhaus Brass Band and The Hoodoo Casters.
“When I was researching bands to bring in for this event, I saw a trend,” Pruett explains. “There are millennial groups that are taking that old-school big brass band, evolving the concept and making it more modern.”
Great Southwest Cajun Fest, Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, 125 E. Commonwealth Avenue, Chandler, southwestcajunfest.com, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 21, $10-$125 depending on package.