Volunteers prepare for Cooking in Central this weekend

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - What began as a place to gather and eat good in Central has transformed into a full-fledged festival.

Cooking in Central held it's first event after Hurricane Katrina in February 2006.

Since then, the event has raised a little over $2.5 million. All of the money has gone to a different cause every year.

From local hurricane victims to tornado victims in Moore, Oklahoma to flood victims right here at home, Cooking in Central has worked to raise money for all of these causes.

This year, the money raised will go towards Central Community Schools education program along with its arts and athletics programs.

Volunteers come together every year to donate their time and resources to make this festival happen.

Organizers say Central's city council passed an ordinance in 2017 making this the city's official festival.

"This has been a passion," said Louis Dejohn, meeting coordinator. "It's something we enjoy doing, raising funds and being able to help others in need."

Those involved with the event also say the event is about people helping people.

"It's the fact that people helping people," explained Russell Starns, the vice president of the event. "They come out. They expect nothing in return and they give, they donate, whatever it takes to make the event work, they do. It's a really awesome time. It's such a family event."

Cooking in Central is a two-day event. It begins Friday, March 23 at 4 p.m. and on Saturday, March 24 at 11 a.m.

It will be held at 10305 Blackwater Road.

On Friday, there will be a crawfish boil with 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of crawfish. Plates will cost $15.

The Chase Tyler Band will perform on Friday night.

On Saturday, there will be food, music and games for kids. Plates will cost $10.

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