What festival would be complete without plenty of head-sucking? We're talking about crawfish, of course, and the annual Cajun/ Zydeco Crawfish Festival comes with 35,000 pounds of the gnarly little crustaceans alive and kicking. Then throw in red beans and rice, crawfish bisque, étouffée, alligator, and muffulettas, all of it spicy. And there's enough gumbo at the festival to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, too. When you're not busy spiking your tongue with the hot eats, you can get up and dance to the accordion-squeezing, foot-stomping zydeco music playing on stages complete with wooden dance floors. Bands like BeauSoleil, the Savoy Cajun Band, the VooDudes, the Déjà Vu Cajun Dance Band, and the Gumbo Junkyard kept the stadium rockin' in 1999, and if that wasn't enough to loosen you up, the fest offers red hurricanes and other assorted spirits being poured at a harrowing clip. For all you family stiffs, the place is tailor-made for kids, too, with children's activities, storytelling, and Cajun history lessons. Of course, it doesn't come cheap: Tickets cost $12 (will be $14 this year) at the gate (children age 12 and under free), and you have to pay for the food and beverages. Then again, the good things in life are rarely free.

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