Hannah Kemper, a sophomore from Louisville, attended her first Crawfish Boil in the Red Barn when she was 8 years old.
Her parents, Gina and Doug are alumni, and have made it a family tradition to attend each year since 1996, enjoying a buffet of crawfish, sausage, potatoes and corn together each April.
This year’s boil will be a little different.
Kemper, the Spirit and Traditions chair for the Student Activities Board, is one of the organizer’s for this year’s feast.
“I used to dream of being a UofL student while I was attending and now I get to live it out and be the one planning it,” Kemper said.
This year’s boil, sponsored by the Student Activities Board and Red Barn Alumni Association, will be 5-8 p.m. Friday April 21. The theme is “Something Fishy.”
Admission is $5 for all-you-can-eat crawfish with lemon, polish sausage, potatoes, corn on the cob, onions and red beans and rice. Hot dogs will also be available for purchase, as well as beer for those 21 or older.
The first crawfish boil dates back to 1985 and was started by Charlotte Bowen, a member of the Student Activities Board’s Adults On Campus Committee. Charlotte Bowen’s father, Bill Bowen, raised crawfish in South Carolina. She convinced her dad to drive 200 pounds of crawfish to campus for a boil.
The first boil was held on the Threlkheld Hall lawn with 100 people in attendance.
“It was a good time,” recalled George Howe, director of Red Barn special programs in student affairs.
Bill Bowen supplied crawfish for the event for many years, ending it when a hurricane took out his fish hatchery.
Today, the 650 pounds of crawfish needed to feed 500 people will be ordered from Louisville’s Bluefin Seafood.
About 50 staff, alumni and volunteers cook, serve and feed the many guests who attend year after year. The money raised from the event goes to support scholarships through the Red Barn.
Kemper’s family, including aunts and uncles, will be back in the Red Barn to check out Kemper’s work.
“I am honored and a little nervous for my parents to come. They always hear me talk about my work but hardly get to see it in action. I can’t wait for them to see,” Kemper said.