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SPECIAL EVENT

Ragin’ Cajun Bash turns 10

By Jennifer Nixon

This article was published April 10, 2014 at 2:50 a.m.

It’s time to laissez les bons temps rouler in the River Market as CARTI brings its spicy Cajun country shindig back for another round of food and fundraising.

The Ragin’ Cajun Bash, 6-9 p.m. today, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and the popular event is still going strong.

“The attendance is just great because it’s kind of a unique event,” says CARTI Foundation special events coordinator Leslie Gordy. “It works, obviously. We’re in the 10th year and it’s been growing and growing. I don’t know if we can possibly fit any more tables under the pavilion.”

The big draw for Ragin’ Cajun is the food, a traditional crawfish boil with all the trimmings. Guests can gorge themselves on crawfish, potatoes and corn to their hearts’ content. Also Hurricanes, beer and soft drinks will be available.

Party organizers are well aware that not everyone likes the little critters, so there will be other Louisiana-theme food options like red beans and rice, gumbo and chicken from Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits.

To add more authenticity to the party’s Cajun flair, Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners from south Louisiana will provide the musical entertainment.

“It’s casual, laid-back, just a really good time,” Gordy says. “And hopefully the weather is amazing.”

For the first time this year, they’re adding two ways for patrons to leave with something more than a full stomach.

A live auction will include bid packages including a trip to Costa Rica and jewelry from Roberson’s Fine Jewelry.

Then there’s a raffle for the chance to win four gift baskets - one for women, one for men, one with a family theme and one “date night” basket. Each is loaded with gift certificates, hotel stays and jewelry and each is valued at $1,000 or more. Raffle tickets will be $5 each, or $20 for five.

The point of it all is to raise money to fund CARTI’s programs. CARTI is a fixture in the state, with 20 locations around Arkansas providing cancer treatments, running clinical trials and coordinating care for people with all types of cancer.

Ragin’ Cajun has been “so successful in raising money for the cancer patients at CARTI,” Gordy says.

And as they move into the future, the fundraising becomes even more important. They’re currently in the process of constructing a new building.

But tonight, Gordy says, the focus is on the fun, the fellowship and, of course, the food: “Just come hungry with your dancing shoes on !”

CARTI’s Ragin’ Cajun Bash

6-9 p.m. today, River Market pavilions, Little Rock Tickets: $50 (501) 296-3406 carti.com

Weekend, Pages 37 on 04/10/2014

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