ROCKPORT, Texas — Around one year ago, the inaugural Rockport Crawfish Cook-off and Tasting was held, and was one of the last events held in the Coastal Bend before COVID-19 shut things down.
The event raised around $10,000 for Project Graduation at Rockport-Fulton High School.
“At the brink of COVID, everything was cancelling, and we just decided to go on, because we just had so much at stake, and we just didn’t want to let the kids down,” said event organizer Augie Garcia.
However, so much more came out of the event for Garcia and his family. On top of organizing the event, Garcia also competed in it.
“I cook in the event with our crawfish cook-off team, and that event gave me and my family a lot of exposure, and helped us open a restaurant,” Garcia said.
In July, Garcia opened SR Boil House in Rockport.
“We had a fanbase of fans that really liked our crawfish. During COVID, when we were out of work, we just popped up a tent in my front yard, and just put on Facebook, ‘we’re going to be cooking crawfish from this time to this time,’ and we would sell out every day. We used that money, kind of saved it up, started looking for a place, came across this place, and put some money into it, and had a restaurant,” Garcia said.
This year, in addition to the crawfish cook-off, the event will feature a carnival, a gumbo cook-off, a fishing tournament, and live zydeco (cajun-style) bands.
“We’re just trying to put as much as we can into the event because we’ve all been waiting for it for so long,” Garcia said. “The community has been waiting a long time for something, so it will be really nice to happen. Rockport’s a festival town, we’ve had some really, really big festivals in town that had to cancel because of COVID. To have a festival back in town, it’s just going to kind of boost our economy, and help us get back to who we are.”
The event will once again benefit Project Graduation for Rockport-Fulton High School, but this year it will also raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of Aransas County; two organizations with a personal connection for Garcia.
“I work also at the high school, so I’ve got a tie in to Project Graduation, I like helping those kids do that, but the boys and girls club came in, it’s a new organization that’s trying to get established here in Rockport, and they need a lot of help. As a young kid, I remember going to the boys and girls club all the time, so that was one of the reasons we picked them too,” he said.
COVID-19 protocols will be followed for the event; people will be asked to wear masks, there will be sanitizing stations, and temperature checks will be conducted to get in.
“We know COVID is a problem, so we’re going to take precautions to be there, we’d like to see everybody out there, we want to raise a lot of money for these kids, and help support, and get our economy going here in Rockport,” Garcia said.
The event will be held at the Festival Grounds at Rockport Harbor on Friday, March 12, and Saturday, March 13. Friday, the event will run 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday it will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Around 40 teams will compete in the crawfish cook-off.
Tickets can be purchased ahead of time by following this link, and they can also be purchased at the event, though they will be more expensive.