In the food court, people ordered up baskets of boiled crawfish, catfish po’ boys or Louisiana crab cakes on a bed of “dirty” rice. People clustered around the main stage, sitting on lawn chairs and shielded from the sun by canopies. Some drank beer and ate crawfish as couples danced. Cajun cooking’s secret is in the seasoning and the time taken to properly prepare the food, said Michael Hall, 24, of New Orleans. Working at the New Orleans Cookery booth, Hall said crab cakes combine the “trinity” of vegetables: celery, green bell peppers and onions. “It’s the herbs from around the Mississippi and it’s the seafood,” said Tess Mohr about Cajun and Creole food. The festival continues today from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park, 5005 Los Angeles Ave. Admission is $15.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SIMI VALLEY – There were plush alligators for sale among the carnival beads and hats at the Cajun Creole Music Festival, and there was real alligator – cooked, on a stick. For the truly daring, the alligator meat is marinated in hot sauce for a couple of days, then dipped in batter and grilled. “It tastes like chicken,” said Lori Lange, 48, of Simi Valley, munching on an alligator skewer while strolling the grounds with her husband, Ron. The Langes have come to the festival for the past 15 years to enjoy the food and music. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“If you can’t tap your foot to that, you can’t tap your foot to anything,” Ron Lange said about the swinging, upbeat music in the background. From its humble beginnings as a clam bake in 1988, the festival now draws thousands from the city and surrounding communities. It is the biggest fundraising event of the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise. The event brought in more than $100,000 last year, said Rotary member Steve Pietrolungo, chairman of last year’s festival. The money is donated to community groups and charities such as the Boys and Girls Club and Meals on Wheels. “It all goes back into the community,” Pietrolungo said.