Hundreds of people gathered April 17 in downtown Hutto to mingle, shop and eat during the annual crawfish festival and car show, hosted by the Hutto Chamber of Commerce.
Retail and food vendors lined up along East Street and Farley Street selling their products, many of which featured the high school's mascot, the hippos.
Hutto resident Allison McCullough sold epoxy resin hippo figures at her booth for her business Blue Hour Oddities, which sells handmade art, jewelry and trinkets.
McCullough said all the products are made with epoxy resin and she incorporates found objects such as animal bones, plants and insects, a bestseller, in her pieces.
Some Blue Hour Oddities products can be found at Cozy Vape and Herb Shop, located at 201 West St., Hutto, but customers can also find her on her Facebook and Etsy shop, she said.
McCullough said events like the crawfish festival help with product exposure and her business is always successful.
“I wish I was a little better with social media but I’m not so this really helps a lot,” she said.
Another Hutto-based business, Set in Stone Statuary, had a booth with painted hippo statues. Owner Greg Ray was busy painting hippos for customers as his wife, Terra took orders.
The hippos are 3D-printed, molded, cast in concrete and painted. Terra said Greg also paints hippos that residents already own.
Halfway through the festival, Terra said business was busy and they were almost sold out.
The festival ran from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., but all the crawfish was sold out by 1:30 p.m. Sonia Herrera, Hutto Chamber of Commerce finance and information specialist, said in 2019 they did not sell out but it is always a hope that they will.
After a year of event cancellations due to the pandemic, including last year’s festival, it was a little surreal to be out at the event, Hutto resident Megan Skorzewski said.
“It’s so nice to be able to support the community of the local businesses that we wouldn’t normally get to,” she said.
Skorzewski said she used to volunteer at the festival when she was in high school. This year was the first time she was able to eat the crawfish instead of selling it and working the lines.
Each plate pound and a half of crawfish was served with a cob of corn and some potatoes.
Eating crawfish is a sitting down affair; the red shells have to be hand split to access the white meat inside and, more often than not, is messy. Hutto resident Heather Alexander came prepared with three individual wet wipe packs next to her plate. For her, the mess is part of the fun.
“That’s the beauty of it,” she said. “You get to be a child and play with it.”
Alexander’s mother, Natalie Capetillo, said although being around the large crowd made her a little nervous, she had her mask on hand and said it was nice to be out at the event.
The crawfish festival was the first event Capetillo has been to since the pandemic started.
“I’m ready to get out and get going again,” she said. “I kind of hibernated for almost a year, I’ve been working from home, so this feels good.”