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Crayfish lovers can start planning ahead for two events celebrating the crustacean this summer.

On Aug. 3, noon to 7 p.m., Smack Shack’s annual Crayfest takes over the restaurant with an all-you-can-eat crayfish boil (burgers and brats, too), a crayfish eating contest, beer and hurricanes. Tickets are $50 in advance, $60 at the door. Tickets are at

Think you have what it takes to enter the crayfish eating contest?

There are still three chances to qualify, July 18, July 25 and Aug. 1, by eating a pound of crayfish in three minutes (no shells). The winners of each round go on to compete at the main event for $1,000 in prizes. Register by sending Smack Shack a private message on Facebook ( SmackShackNOLO).

Then, on Aug. 23 starting at 6:30 p.m., the American Swedish Institute hosts its Swedish summer tradition, Kräftskiva (it means Crayfish Party). The castle’s courtyard will be decorated with lanterns for the soiree, which includes dill-brined crayfish, bread, sides, “strong” cheese, aquavit and Swedish drinking songs. Tickets are $55 for members and $65 for nonmembers, at

Can't wait till then? Check with any of the Twin Cities' southern-style seafood spots for crayfish/crawfish specials. They include Cajun Boiling (1931 Nicollet Av., Mpls., 612-871-2334,, Cajun Deli (8038 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park, 763-391-0900, Grand Catch (1672 Grand Av., St. Paul, 651-348-8541,, and the Cajun House (2600 University Av. SE., Mpls., 612-345-7439,