In 2010, Mark Loup of Tuthill invited a group of fellow employees from Tuthill's Fort Wayne plant to a crawfish boil at his home in Wesson, Mississippi. "We spent the day eating crawfish and making homemade ice cream," he fondly recalls. To his surprise his friends had made t-shirts for the event with an image of a crawfish and the words "Loupfest." "From that day on it became an annual tradition," Mark recalled.
Mark sources the crawfish locally and boils them in a large pot combined with spices, lemon, corn, potatoes, garlic and onions. Once cooked, the meal is poured onto a picnic table where it becomes an all-you-can eat buffet.
He describes Loupfest as a place where “old and new friends come together to eat, drink, laugh, share stories and have a good time.”
This year, Lyle Baron and Mike Guidray from Tuthill Transfer Systems drove to Mississippi to attend the infamous Loupfest. "Going to a crawfish boil was one of the items on my bucket list," Lyle, small pump's LOPL said. He took his two youngest boys and made a weekend trip out of the event. He and his boys helped cook the crawfish and Mark's friend Will taught the Baron family how to eat them.
"I was very surprised at how well they tasted," Lyle said. If it weren't for the six-hour drive home, Lyle said, "I would have eaten a lot more!" Legend has it that Barry Peterson, another TTS employee had eaten six when he attended Loupfest, so Lyle was determined to eat at least seven.
"My favorite part was watching my kids through the entire experience as my boys played around the yard running up and down the hills and through the woods with Mark's grandkids." Lyle said it was wonderful to meet Mark's family as "they are as sweet as he is."
Lyle’s six-year-old is already asking when they can go back again, and is making plans for Loupfest 2018.
Mike Guidry also attended, and according to Lyle, "Man that guy loves his crawfish!" He was joined with four former employees from Tuthill Transfer Systems.
"It makes my heart happy to say that the friends I made at work over the years are still my friends," Mike said of the event. "To summarize Loupfest is to say 'laissez le bon temps rouler,'" he said. Translated, this means, "Let the good times roll."