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Galveston Monthly

Bon Temps Rouler Cajun Throwdown

Apr 04, 2019 07:11AM
Cajuns are famous for their joie de vive, or “joy of living,” and everything about the culture is
centered on enjoying life - especially when it comes to music and cuisine. Crawfish, shrimp,
spicy smoked sausage, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and garlic are staples in a variety of dishes - and who doesn’t love a Po’ boy sandwich?

You can experience it all, and you don’t have to drive to New Orleans. On April 26-27, Galveston is the site of the Bon Temps Rouler Cajun Throwdown, a family-friendly festival that celebrates all things Cajun.

“We will have a Cajun Luau VI P experience, all you can eat boiled shrimp on Friday night with Wayne Toups, and all you can eat crawfish with Frank Foster on Saturday,” said event founder and owner Daniel “Tiny” Guidry, a Galveston native with Cajun roots.

“There are nine bands total for the weekend and real Zydeco coming straight out of Acadiana. There will be fun for the kids and parents, too.”

The two-day event takes place at Tin Cups Caddyshack, 9020 Stewart Road. Advance tickets start at $25 for Friday only admission, and “very limited” VI P passes start at $100, plus fees.
Daily and weekend VI P passes are also available and include gate admission, concerts, exclusive parking, exclusive bar, exclusive bathrooms, and exclusive seating with A/C. VI P passes must be purchased prior to event, he says.

The Cajun culture has deep roots - deeper than Creoles. While both cultures can trace their ancestry back to France, Creoles are descended from French, Spanish, or Portuguese settlers living in the West Indies and Latin America in the 18th century.

The Cajun culture can be traced to Acadians, a group of French settlers who colonized the eastern portions of Canada in 1604, now mainly Nova Scotia. Anyone who enjoys gumbo, etouffée and jambalaya has the Cajuns to thank.

The event includes a Louisiana cuisine cook-off on Friday, and attendees can sign up to be a judge; a crawfish cookoff on Saturday with a $5,000 1st place prize; all-you-can eat boiled shrimp; an oyster bar, crawfish-racing, a Bloody Mary Throwdown, a scavenger hunt, craft vendors, live
music, a carnival, and food trucks. The food trucks include Offbeat Eats, Wylie St Tacos, Big 6 BBQ, Dojo Hibachi, Southern Taste, Chalu’s Wings, Angie’s Cakeballs, and Shakeitup.

A Galveston favorite, Bubba’s on the Strand, he says, “is providing all of our boiled sides for both days: taters, corn, mushrooms, onions, sausage, etcetera, and we are working with several local restaurants to help boost the Galveston economy.”

Guidry says the event is designed to bring tourists and locals together for one weekend where everyone will be treated as family.

The cook-offs are one of the highlights of the festivities, says Guidry, who founded the BigAss Crawfish Bash - which set a Guinness World Record in 2017 for the largest serving of crawfish in eight hours (58,083.98 pounds) in La Marque, Texas.

“We have 30 teams competing, and the names are always fun - a lot of creativity ranging from Mudbugs, Tails, Buggin’, Boilers, Fun, Pinchin’, Bourbon, Suckers, etcetera. The names will be displayed at the event on each tent, and you get to choose People’s Choice.”

What would a Cajun festival be without music? Never fear, the lineup is sure to please - from pure Cajun and zydeco to country and more, he says.

“My wife being from Kaplan, Louisiana - an Acadiana girl born and raised - had the honor of choosing the lineup, and we all think she did a pretty good job,” he says. “She demanded, if
we were going to bring a real Cajun Throwdown to Galveston Island, then she knew just the right ones to invite.”

The lineup features high-energy Cajun artists, including headliner and Billboard Country Chart topper Frank Foster.

A native of Cypress Bottom, Louisiana, Foster has several hit albums under his belt: “Rowdy Reputation” (2011), “Red Wings and Six Strings” (2012) “Southern Soul” (2013), “Rhythm and
Whiskey” (2014), “Boots on the Ground” and “Good Country Music” (both in 2016), and “’Til I’m Gone,” which debuted at No. 16 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart when it dropped in

Foster counts the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams Sr., Hank Williams Jr., Marshall Tucker Band, Steve Earle, The Black Crowes, and Allman Brothers Band as musical influences on his sound.

Other musical guests at the Bon Temps Rouler Cajun Throwdown include Zydeco accordion player Richard LeBouef, Jamie Bergeron, Travis Matte, the Alex Touchet band, Curtis Poullard, Tommy Kib, Jason Cassidy, and Grammy Award-winner Wayne Toups, known as the “The Cajun Springsteen.”

“Some of them are long time family friends of hers, some of them are on her bucket list to meet them, but they were all hand chosen by her, and she has worked with everyone on scheduling and getting it locked into place,” Guidry says of his wife.

“She grew up listening to these guys with her daddy, and she has poured her heart and soul into giving Galveston this event.”

Attendees aren’t the only ones who will benefit from the event. Proceeds from the event benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, as well as several local charities.

“St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was chosen as our beneficiary because we want to make a difference and donate to help end pediatric cancer,” he says.

“We built a relationship with St. Jude for this event because we believe in their cause. We believe in their vision. We believe in their mission. They do not charge any family for oncology care during treatment - you never receive a bill. This is something we want to help fund and be a part of… Our goal is to give $20,000 to St. Jude.”

The event also has partnered with Galveston Independent School District, Hitchcock Band Association, and Dickinson Education Foundation, and Guidry hopes to be able to provide
$10,000 to local education foundations. 

Guidry says Cajun hospitality, coupled with the inherent charm of the Oleander City is a tough combination to beat - and he hopes the Bon Temps Rouler Cajun Throwdown will become an
annual Galveston tradition.

“I am a BOI (Born on the Island). This is my roots. It is a place that my wife and I love, and we want to give back to the community in any way that we can,” he says.

“Galveston is a great destination place for a weekend, and we want to share that with everyone nationwide. If you love Galveston, she will love you back. …so come to the event to have a good time. Just enjoy the weekend, and help us start this new festival… Ya’ll come on - Ça c’est bon!”