Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival Case Study
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How the Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival Cooked Up Ragin' Cajun Success with Saffire!

The Friends of Conroe partnered with Saffire to improve their organization internally, grow the attendance of their annual festival and increase proceeds raised throughout the festival.

For over 30 years, Friends of Conroe has hosted the annual Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival where tens of thousands gather downtown to explore spicy Cajun offerings, deep-fried comfort food, live music and entertainment, a carnival, local vendors and even a Catfish pageant! In addition to the annual festival, the organization promotes multiple community events throughout the year, organizes volunteers and manages memberships.



The festival's ticketing system was not user-friendly for attendees, it lacked important reporting features for staff and volunteers and was generally an outdated system with no flexibility.


The website needed a refresh! The Board required a custom-designed, easy to manage website that allowed for easy management of various events, provided simple forms where volunteers could sign up for shifts, and a system for members to update memberships.

Revenue Control

One of the biggest draws to the Cajun Catfish Festival is the wide selection of food and drinks for visitors to indulge in. With such a large number of vendors on-site, the festival felt there was a lack of control over sales and visibility into reporting with food and beverages.


A professional Website for all

Saffire designed a site that was welcoming for visitors and easy to manage for the Friends of Conroe team, who can now quickly and easily make on-the-fly adjustments for volunteer schedules, entertainment line-ups or make any last-minute event information changes online.

Integrated ticketing

The new website also came with SaffireTix®, completely integrated ticketing. Site and ticketing reporting has become much easier for the festival team. In fact, the real-time reports in Saffire's Spark Content Management System have become a key feature the leadership depends on, using data to craft their marketing plan and to reach their fundraising goals.

Cashless with RFID

BlastPass® RFID was introduced in 2019 to control the sales and reporting of all food and beverage sold. In addition, it integrated seamlessly into their existing Saffire website and ticketing platform.

The Value of a Trusted Partnership

As Friends of Conroe were researching different companies to provide a cashless system for their festival, Saffire was launching their newest addition to their product line, BlastPass®. Stephen Naleway, Chairman of the Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival, chose to deepen the partnership with Saffire by integrating the BlastPass system in 2019.

It was a learning experience for both organizations! Saffire identified the Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival as a perfect partner to help launch a brand new system, and the festival was looking for a new way to do business while easing long-time customers into RFID. Saffire’s support team traveled to Conroe for the setup, implementation and deployment of the cashless system.

In 2022, the festival took their RFID payment processes a step further and built two ATM-style trailers to house BlastPass kiosks, allowing for a more streamlined, self-serve experience requiring fewer staff. Kiosks were strategically located on the grounds to allow patrons convenient access to credit refilling, resulting in shorter vendor shopping lines. The response from guests was overwhelmingly positive.


After a redesign of their website, a brand new ticketing partner and a complete overhaul to payments within the festival, the Friends of Conroe found successes across the board.

Increase in online sales year over year

Money in the Bank!

With a higher concentration of online pre-sales, Friends of Conroe are seeing a higher breakage.

Streamlined Experience

Festival goers and staff enjoy a simple, intuitive system to maximize the fun and reduce headaches.

A Word

"I'm thankful we partnered with Saffire on our cashless RFID implementation, and that BlastPass works in conjunction with our Saffire website and ticketing. The entire Saffire product offering is as solid as it gets, reporting is everything and more, and the support staff is very knowledgeable. We look forward to a continued partnership!"

- Stephen Naleway, Chairman

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