Invasive crawfish in MI spawns pop-up food festival

Sunset Lake, red swamp crayfish
A sign warns of invasive red swamp crayfish at Sunset Lake. (July 20, 2017)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — News that Louisiana’s favorite crustacean has turned up as an invasive species in Michigan prompted a local tourism agency to create a pop-up crawfish festival in Michigan.

A crew including a chef who farms crawfish left Lafayette, Louisiana, on Thursday morning for a 1,000-mile drive north to Vicksburg — the first spot in Michigan where red swamp crawfish were found.

Red swamp crayfish
This undated photo provided by the United States Geological Survey shows a red swamp crayfish. (Brome McCreary/United States Geological Survey via AP)

On Saturday, they’ll put on “Cray Day” with help from Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources and a Cajun band from Michigan.

Festival organizers were amused at first to think of crawfish as dangerous, but have learned what the critters can do outside their natural habitat. A state biologist from Michigan says he was nervous at first about the idea of the festival, but now sees it as a chance to teach more people about the invaders.

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Cray Day event information