Heads up, Louisiana lovers! The Arts and Crabs Fest is rolling into Lake Charles again, and Southwest Louisiana chefs and artists are ready to showcase their best work at Burton Coliseum on August 19. Whether you’re a local or you’ve never stepped foot on Louisiana soil, the Arts and Crabs Fest is an experience you won’t want to miss. If you plan to go, here’s what to expect:

Louisiana Culture

Much of south Louisiana’s culture developed because of the region’s relationship with seafood. The Arts and Crabs Fest celebrates that relationship once a year by bringing together chefs from the area and pitting them against each other in the “Best Crab Dish” competition. Won by popular vote, this competition brings out the best in both the seafood and the region’s people. This year, to celebrate more shellfish diversity, chefs are allowed to serve up any other seafood dishes they want, so you’ll get to feast on more than just crab (as if that wasn’t already amazing!) Live Louisiana music will also play for the duration of the festival, so if you’re an out-of-towner who wants to see the famed creole craze come to life, the Arts and Crabs Fest is the place to be.

Local Artwork

You can view and buy from wall-to-wall art displays comprised entirely of work from local artists. This year, some live art demonstrations will be on display. And the chefs aren’t the only ones challenged with a dose of healthy competition; interested artists can enter their designs for the trophy given to the chef voted “Best Crab Dish.” The winner gets $100, lots of promotion, and the trophy showcased at the chef’s restaurant. Now that’s what I call a win-win situation.

Free Beer! Sort Of.

Okay, so you paid for your ticket, which covers the cost of the beer, but still. Every delicious seafood dish is paired with local craft beer samples to compliment the flavors and bring out the best in each chef’s cooking style. Besides, all the festival proceeds are put back into the SWLA community by the Arts and Humanities Council, so the tickets for this premier event are worth every penny to keep Louisiana’s culture alive and kickin’.

For four years in a row, the Arts and Crabs Fest has been recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as a “Top 20 Event in the Southeast.” If you’re looking to get a taste of Louisiana outside of the New Orleans hubbub, this is something you’ll want to mark on your calendar. Order your tickets online today! For more information about the fest, check out the Arts and Humanities Council of SWLA.