An unexpectedly large crowd turned out in downtown Houma Saturday for the TFAE 5K Run for Excellence and post-run food festival.

With over 400 pre-registered runners for this year's race, Katie Portier, Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence executive director, said the turnout for the race and the food festival was higher than it has been in years.

"The food fest is jammed-packed and everything that we raise here does support public education," Portier said. "So I think a lot of people come out because they know it's a win-win. They come to enjoy an all-you-can-eat, an all-you-can-drink and have a good time while still supporting their kids' education."

All the proceeds raised go for grants to Terrebonne Parish public school teachers and the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Karen Bourg, an elementary school teacher who has been a volunteer at the event for three years, said her motivation to volunteer comes from the fact that she is a teacher and that the event as a whole "gives back to our teachers and our communities because it helps out our school system and it benefits our children."

Over 400 volunteers helped organize the event, and the number of attendees could be around the 1,000, Portier said.

Most of those at the event gathered around the stage where the band Category 6 played a variety of songs such as "Uptown Funk," and "Sweet Caroline." People could also visit about 40 vendors and enjoy a variety of foods.

Even though putting the event together took a toll on those who organized it, Portier said everything was worth it as long as "every dollar that was spent turns into tangible things in the classroom where students are actually engaged and they are learning in a fun way."

The foundation will discuss the event to learn what went well and what can be improved in the future.

"It'll be really unique going forward because I have fresh eyes on everything," Portier said.

Staff Writer Andrea Mujica can be reached at 857-1148 or amujica@houmatoday.com. Follow her on twitter @CationM.