FROM STAFF REPORTS
LLANO — Sometimes, you just have to buckle down and take a bite. At least that’s the best way to get over the idea of eating a mudbug, more commonly called a crawfish.
Yeah, that little red freshwater crustacean returns as the center of attention April 25-26 during the 25th annual Llano Crawfish Open at Robinson City Park, 100 Robinson Park Drive about two miles west of downtown Llano off FM 152. The crawfish, which goes by numerous other monikers — crayfish, crawdads, freshwater lobster and the ever-endearing mudbugs — enjoys the spotlight or, in this case, the pot as folks head for the park to partake in a plateful.
The Llano Crawfish Open features lots of other food, too, including a supporting cast of barbecue, Jambalaya, potatoes and corn.
But crawfish are only part of the fun. You see, it’s a two-day celebration featuring games, golf, some running, motorcycles and, yes, music, especially music.
One of the biggest names in the music industry, well the lead singer is definitely one of the biggest people in the business, steals some of the limelight from the mighty crawfish for a few hours Friday night.
That’s when Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel take the stage. For more than four decades, Asleep at the Wheel has been entertaining crowds and luring new folks to the fold. The band started out in Paw Paw, W.Va., in 1970. And during that same year, the band landed its first big show when it opened for Alice Cooper (yep, that Alice Cooper) in Washington, D.C.
Things kept rolling for the group as it headed west to California in 1971. But the big break came when Van Morrison mentioned the band during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. Soon, the band from a sleepy little town was headed for great things.
An invitation by Willie Nelson and Doug Sahm in 1973 brought the band to Austin, and Asleep at the Wheel has been a Lone Star State mainstay ever since. Though the group continues to travel and perform, Austin remains its home.
Over the years, Asleep at the Wheel has released more than 30 CDs and albums.
While the band won’t be able to perform all its hits, you can definitely expect Asleep at the Wheel to have you up and dancing for most of its show.
On Saturday, Mark Chesnutt hits the stage at the pavilion. Chesnutt has 14 No. 1 hits, 23 top 10 singles, four platinum albums and five gold records to his name. The Texas son keeps a busy tour schedule and still gives crowds a great show. Some of his most memorable hits include “Bubba Shot the Jukebox,” “Blame it On Texas,” “Going Through the Big D” and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
While he established himself as a regular on the charts, Chesnutt’s sound remains a true honky-tonk style, allowing him to always stand apart from the crowded field of country entertainers.
While Asleep at the Wheel and Mark Chesnutt are the big musical attractions during the night, you’ll find live music throughout both Friday and Saturday.
This isn’t just about music and crawfish (though, they are big parts). You’ll find lots of other great activities, including a golf tournament both days at the Llano River Golf Course (located next to the park); the Crawfish Crawler 5k on April 26 at 8:30 a.m. (starting at the entrance of CR 116 off of FM 152; registration is at 7:30 a.m.); the Crawfish Team Roping on April 24-27 at the arena adjacent to the park; a motorcycle fun run; and lots of children’s activities.
Go to www.llanocrawfishopen.com or call (325) 247-2270 for more information.
On Friday, admission to the festival is free until 7 p.m. Then it’s $5, though children 12 and under are still admitted free. On Saturday, admission is $10 until 7 p.m. before going up to $15. Again, children 12 and under are admitted free.
Ice chests and pets are not permitted either days.