WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — From crawfish to gumbo and even etouffee, downtown Wichita Falls had all things Cajun as organizers kicked off Cajun Fest 2022.

Although it was a pretty hot day Saturday, that didn’t stop hundreds of patrons from flocking downtown for the 14th Annual Cajun Fest.

“It’s a food festival first and foremost – we have a crowned jewel with our crawfish boil going on, there’s tons of food for everyone, from jambalaya to gumbo etouffee, boudin, anything Cajun fest that you could want,” Executive Director for Downtown Wichita Falls Development Jana Schmader said.

Schmader said without community support, events like this wouldn’t happen.

“It takes about a hundred people to show up and just give up their time to the charity to do what we do,” Schmader said. “I have a committee of 25 people that are right there by our side and an active board, so it’s just representative of the community and what it means when people come together, they can do something huge.”

Schmader said seeing such a large turnout for the festival just goes to show that downtown is bouncing back.

“Our festival is unique; there’s not other Cajun festivals that go on in Wichita Falls, and I think that people enjoy coming out downtown and experiencing something different,” Schmader said. “We try to make sure there’s something here for everyone, and I think people are seeing that today.”

Schmader said not only does this provide patrons with something to do, but the event can also be beneficial for local businesses in the area.

“A lot of people say, ‘I never knew that business was there until I came to Cajun Fest,’ so one of our parts of our mission is to drive traffic, and the way that we do that is through these large events, so if you can gather 8,000 people in downtown for one day, they’re going to find something that they love about downtown tomorrow,” Schmader said.

In turn, Cajun Fest will help adding to the growth and revitalization of downtown for generations to come.