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Crawfish Festival 7 boils up seafood and salt potatoes in Clinton Square Saturday

A volunteer stirs a vat of gumbo at last year's Crawfish Festival, hosted by Operation Northern Comfort and Operation Southern Comfort. It is the nonprofit organization's largest annual fundraiser. This year's will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. this Saturday, May 3, in Clinton Square.

A volunteer stirs a vat of gumbo at last year's Crawfish Festival, hosted by Operation Northern Comfort and Operation Southern Comfort. It is the nonprofit organization's largest annual fundraiser. This year's will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. this Saturday, May 3, in Clinton Square.

— It’s an old Louisiana adage: “Pinch the tail, suck the head.”

Though it sounds salacious, it’s actually quite delicious. “Pinch the tail, suck the head” offers simple advice about how to eat boiled crawfish.

Central New Yorkers will make a meal of the marvelous mudbugs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday May 3, when Operation Southern/Northern Comfort presents its seventh annual Crawfish Festival & Clambake in downtown Syracuse’s Clinton Square.

Rebuilding residences

Live music, legal beverages, sweet treats, kids’ games, crafts and raffles will create a festive atmosphere while benefiting Operation Southern/Northern Comfort’s efforts to rebuild Louisiana homes ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and New York and New Jersey homes impacted by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It’s a project of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Liverpool, which affords it non-profit status and the ability to receive tax-deductible.

Operation Southern Comfort was started in 2006 by Liverpool resident Norm Andrzejewski (pronounced AN-dru-juski), a Tulane graduate who’d spent time on the Gulf Coast in the 1960s. He can be contacted at 559-9413 or via e-mail at nandrzej@twcny.rr.com.

Crawdad crustaceans

Crayfish, also known as crawfish or crawdads, are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters. Found in slow-moving bodies of water, mostly brooks and streams, they breathe through gills. The tiny shelled creatures sometimes burrow up to ten feet into the ground earning their nickname, mudbugs.

Louisiana’s rural Cajuns first harvested crawfish for their families, but in the 1940s, commercial enterprises started farming crawdaddies and packaging the peeled tails, their most succulent meat. Over the years, chefs have adapted crawfish into all sorts of dishes, from crawfish étouffée (with rice), crawfish monica (with pasta), crawfish pie, crawfish bisque or crawfish au gratin. On the simpler side, there are crawfish breads, fried crawfish po’boys and even crawfish beignets.

Best boiled

The simplest and perhaps best way to eat crawfish, however, is boiled, and that’s how they’ll do it here. Operation Southern/Northern Comfort is flying in thousands of pounds of live crawfish for Saturday’s she-bang.

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