Llano’s Annual By Ernie Altgelt
ince 1989, come every late April, the lovingly laid-back Llano suddenly heats up and simmers as thousands of snapping, strutting, steaming, spicy and, most importantly, super savory crawfish deliciously descend on this usually somewhat sedate Hill Country community, always causing quite an annual stir. And thankfully, in response to this colossal crustacean migration, hordes of hungry humankind also follow in its wading wake eager to snap up a ‘dad or two or 10. Yep, when taken together – man and mudpuppy, all seasoned with a lot of merriment – what it simply boils down to is that it’s time again for the oh-so appetizing Llano Crawfish Open where a blast is measured by the bucketful. Heads and/or tails, it’s a hoot! When first celebrated, the “open” initially grew from the charitable need of a motorized wheelchair for a local individual. Area residents wanted to hold a fund raiser but weren’t sure what to do. Enter the “Beaumont Connection.” Each year a group of visiting deer hunters from East Texas made Llano their base camp. When they heard that the town’s citizenry was looking for something “fun and different” to generate donations, these guys had just the thing – a traditional Cajun crawfish boil! Add to the mix a golf tourney (to attract those who weren’t quite sure about the little snappers) and an event was born. Folks came, consumed and contributed. All agreed it was a lot of fun but, more importantly, the imported crawfish ultimately netted the $400.00 needed for the purchase of the wheelchair. Realizing that there were so many other deserving charities, city leaders soon decided to make the Llano Crawfish Open an annual happening and, over the next 29 years, that’s exactly what they did, again and again and again! The 2019 open marks the 30th annual iteration. Through the decades, the number of participants – human and crawfish – along with the expanded activities, have grown exponentially. Attendees are expected to number in the thousands and, to accommodate, 18,000 pounds of crawdads have offered their services as well. The Beaumont Connection will be on hand to oversee the cuisine while local volunteers will run everything else including the two-day golf tournament to be held at the challenging Llano River Golf Club, various (and exciting) live auctions, multiple kid’s activities, an arts and crafts shopping fair, team roping competitions, a five-K race, a motorcycle run and, of course, the not-to-be-missed, top-shelf entertainment-fueled day concerts and nightly dances. This year’s performers include the always popular Tracy Lawrence, Josh Ward, Weldon Henson and the Mayeaux Broussard band. With the majority of the diversions taking place in the very comfy and commodious City Park facilities, all agree that the Llano Crawfish Open is truly a one-stop
Hill Country SUN 12 March/April 2019
cavalcade of bayou bliss and more. So, grab your bibs, put on your dancing boots and sidle on over to Llano this April. But you better snap to. There’s gonna be a crowd! For information about the multi-day, multi-activity event, including concert times, directions to the City Park, ticket pricing, to register in the golf tournament, vendor participation, as well as race, motorcycle run and team roping entry requirements visit the website at llanocrawfishopen.com. The Llano Crawfish Open takes place on Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27. All proceeds raised benefit area charities. Photos courtesy Llano Crawfish Open.
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