Crawfish Boil

Because the Beams threw such a good party, they discovered people were getting invitations "for friends" and selling them. So, Aaron decided he could charge admission and give the profits to charity. The event moved from the Beam's backyard to Sloss Furnace, next to the Birmingham Race Course, and then to Southside. Although people enjoyed the event the proceeds were not great.

While Aaron was looking for corporate dollars to cover expenses, Dr. Jack Schaeffer was looking for a sponsorship opportunity for his Birmingham-based company Schaeffer Eye Center. The two visionaries partnered to turn the event into a free street festival in Birmingham 's Lakeview area. The benefiting charity, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, was chosen because both men served on its board of trustees. The corporate VIP area was born when Dr. Schaeffer suggested corporate sponsors could "buy" restaurants for the day to use as hospitality areas. The first official Schaeffer Eye Center / Beam's Crawfish Boil raised $15,000. As the event grew a few things changed, but for the better…

In 1995, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is added as a beneficiary, and a $2 donation is requested at the gate.

In 1997, Crawfish Chef Barry Gerald prepared 15,000 pounds of Crawfish for the 45,000 festival goers.

In 1998, the Crawfish Crawl 5k drew 300 runners and more media attention for the event. The children's area expanded and Cajun artist George Rodrigue painted the first of three "Blue Dog" posters for the event.

In 1999, the festival site moved to Pepper Place with an indoor warehouse for the VIP area. The event raised $100,000 for charity.

In 2000, the Schaeffer Eye Center/Beam Crawfish Boil moved to the Birmingham's Railroad district at 1st Avenue South & 1st Street. This provided a new home for the Boil's future.

In 2002, Camp Smile-A-Mile and the Tanner Center for Multiple Sclerosis were the recipient charities.

In 2003, the event expanded to two-days with 17 musical acts. Benefiting charities included Camp Smile-A-Mile, the Tanner Center for Multiple Sclerosis and the Birmingham Junior League.

In 2004, the two day event brought acts like Sister Hazel, Cowboy Mouth and Collective Soul to Birmingham. Record crowds ensured that the Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil will remain a cornerstone event in Birmingham.

In 2005 continued the two day event format and brought a record number of people out to enjoy bands like the Wallflowers, Drivin' and Cryin', Tonic and Hootie & the Blowfish.

In 2006, Blues Traveler, Live, Sister Hazel, Better Than Ezra, Gin Blossoms, Blue October, POD, Jason Mraz and President’s of the USA performed on the American Family Care Stage.

In 2007 the event drew over 45,000 people to watch Barenaked Ladies, Collective Soul, Cheap Trick, Hinder, Akon, Spin Doctors, Papa Roach, Fuel and Soul Asylum.

The 2008 Crawfish Boil was a huge success with superstars like Fergie and 3 Doors Down that rocked the stage! Other great acts included T-Pain, Gavin DeGraw, Seether, Flo Rida, Corey Smith, Candlebox. Thanks to the US and Australian Women's Olympic soccer teams for stopping by and making a special cameo appearance.

The 2009 event was bigger and better with the début of the Coca-Cola Ferris Wheel offering free rides! Did you get to see Snoop Dogg or 311 from the 80 foot Wheel? If not, maybe you caught the All-American Rejects, Katy Perry, Ever Clear, Jason Mraz, LL Cool J, Filter, Shinedown, Shiney Toy Guns, Saving Able and Bushwalla from the great heights. Merrell Shoes had a fantastic “Get Outside” gaming area just below the towering wheel, where you may have competed in a few rounds of cornhole with your friends. The vitaminwater VIP area was especially fun with the vitaminwater SYNC Lounge featuring a Rock Band contest and, of course, more free crawfish than you would ever need.

The 2010 Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil drew record-breaking crowds with performances by Alice in Chains, Train, Goo Goo Dolls, Fuel, Theory of a Deadman, Seether, Akon, B-52’s, Jay Sean, Jason Derulo and The Rocket Summer. The Coca-Cola Ferris Wheel, once again, gave festival goers an overview of the entire festival site. The Vitaminwater VIP area was a huge hit with free crawfish and an exclusive raised viewing deck providing a bird’s eye view of the stage. New to the festival this year was a Culinard viewing deck featuring free crawfish and a great view of the stage. Also new in 2010 was the Liveupscale Lounge and the TNT “Memphis Beat” Lounge. People were able to see themselves on a big screen after taking a picture at the Liveupscale Lounge. The TNT “Memphis Beat” Lounge was a huge success with crazy lights, free barbeque, and karaoke with live guitar players. 

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