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Crawfish: Attendees say event is worth saving

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden serves up a crawfish dish during the Tualatin Crawfish Festival this weekend. The Crawfish Festival could be coming to an end this year, but many who attended the two-day event said they would like to see the tradition continue.The Tualatin Crawfish Festival hosts thousands of attendees every year. The majority come for the crawfish but stay to enjoy a sense of community often lacking in larger cities. The Times talked with several festival-goers, and all of them agreed: The festival is worth saving.

For some, the festival is a yearly destination. Dee Scott of Vancouver, Wash., was enjoying her second trip to the festival.

“Last year I got here and the crawfish was all gone,” she said. “I was determined to get out this year.”

She was saddened to hear about the festival’s uncertain future.

“It’s a very nice atmosphere out here, and there’s more than just crawfish,” Scott said.

Eleven-year-old Madi Lewallen of Sherwood was on her fifth trip to the festival and was disappointed to think she might not have a chance to continue the tradition of eating crawfish.

“It’s a nice community thing that just kind of brings people together,” her grandmother, Eileene Gillson, also of Sherwood, agreed.

Jean Stevens, who has been attending the festival for 10 years and volunteering for one, agreed the festival faced a tough economic decision. “I’m hoping somebody will step up and take over,” she said. “I think it means a great deal.”

Shawn Rogers was at the festival with his daughter, Bella Rae, and said he had heard rumors the Crawfish Festival might end for the past four years.

“People were saying it’s not attended well enough. Businesses don’t think it’s worth their time to staff it,” he said. “But every year, all the food vendors pack in.”

For Rogers, the festival goes a long way toward promoting social bonds.

“We spend so little time in the community, next to our neighbors and friends, people we don’t have any idea of who they are,” he said. “We used to be able to meet them, and exist with them. Now we hide from them in our various ways. We walk down the street staring at our phones, missing people walking by. I think any time you have an opportunity to build and have community is a great thing. That’s what this is good for.”

Complete Crawfish Festival coverage

The Times is digging into the Tualatin Crawfish Festival

End of an Era: What does the future hold for the city's oldest festival?

Photos: The Times' Facebook page is filled with photos from the 65th annual Crawfish Festival

What'll it Take: Sponsor of Tigard Festival of Balloons talks about what it would take to keep the crawfish festival alive.

History: A look back at the festival's early days




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