Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



The city announced its long-running Crawfish Festival won't return from its pandemic hiatus.

PMG FILE PHOTO: DIEGO G. DIAZ - Dr. Paul Pumilia won the Tualatin Crawfish Festival Crawfish Eating Contest in 2019.Tualatin has boiled its last crawfish.

The city announced Friday, March 18, that the long-running Tualatin Crawfish Festival won't return after two years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With every change we are also presented with opportunities," Tualatin recreation manager Julie Ludemann said in a statement announcing the festival's official end. "We are excited to help create brand new traditions for our community."

The event dubbed Tualatin's annual block party used to span a late-July or early-August weekend before it was put on hold in 2020 and 2021, like many regional events.

In past years, the city had contracted Beaverton-based event planner Better Series to organize the festival.

"The city has been in close communication with the event organizer to discuss this summer's event, and it has become apparent that the festival is simply no longer viable or sustainable, and as such, Better Series and the city have agreed to bid farewell to the festival," Tualatin parks and recreation director Ross Hoover said in the release. "While much loved for many years, it is time to look to the future and adapt in an appropriate way. We are confident that we will be able to continue providing innovative ways for us to come together."PMG FILE PHOTO: ADAM WICKHAM - The Tualatin Crawfish Festival, once famous for serving up platters like this one, is officially cooked. The festival will not return after being canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.

The festival, which included a crawfish-eating contest, dated to 1951 when the Tualatin River was teaming with the crustaceans. Although contestants tried over the years, no one ever broke the winning record set in 1970 when a contestant ate 170 crawfish.

But the crawfish weren't reserved only for those participating in the contest, members of the public could buy and consume what Northerners often call crayfish at the event.

Over the years, the Tualatin Crawfish Festival morphed into a two-day event featuring performances by numerous bands and other activities.

Former Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden said he will miss the annual festival, emphasizing that a huge debt of gratitude is owed to the hundreds of volunteers and sponsors as well as the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce who all worked to make the annual summer event a success.

"Local events such as the Crawfish Festival are such a foundational component of communities like ours. It's sad to lose such an historical happening in Tualatin," Ogden wrote in an email. "What began over 70 years ago was an enduring signature celebration bringing family fun and pride to our community and a welcome to our neighbors across the region."

While the Crawfish Festival is finished, Tualatin is still planning to provide summer entertainment and recreation this year. The city is organizing a free concert in Tualatin Community Park for Aug. 5. Details have yet to be released.PMG FILE PHOTO - Children compete in the watermelon eating competition at the Tualatin Crawfish Festival in 2017.

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