Louisiana Festivals. Shrimp Festival.
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Every year Delcambre, Louisiana blesses the fleet of its shrimp boats to begin what is known as the Shrimp Festival. Delcambre has one of the most productive fleets in the region. The third full weekend in August is the weekend dedicated to celebrating this economic livelihood. The weekend is filled with pageants, cook-offs, food booths, carnival rides, and fais-do-do’s.
Crowley is the home of the Rice Festival. It is held the third weekend in October and is one of Louisiana’s oldest and largest festivals. This festival calls attention to the importance of rice in Louisiana’s economy. The weekend is filled with balls and banquets, eating contests, cooking contests, livestock shows, musical entertainment, pageants, and parades.
The Frog Festival is an unusual but exciting weekend dedicated to celebrating Rayne’s heritage of being the largest worldwide shipper of frog legs throughout the 20th century. The weekend is filled with activities such as a frog jumping contest, a diaper race, frog races, fais-do-do’s, carnival rides, food booths, and pageants. The festival taken place in November for the last few years, but at one time it was held in September.
Festival Acadien is a combination of cultural festivals celebrated in Lafayette, Louisiana on the third weekend of September. Festival de Musique Acadienne attracts the best of Cajun and Zydeco bands from across the country and around the world. It was originally designed to attract the younger crowd in order to educate them in the Cajun culture. Heritage Pavilion is one of the most unique music venues at Festivals Acadiens. Girard Park is the location of workshops and a performance stage used for performances by the best in Cajun and Creole music. Anyone can bring and instrument and jam in the sessions that take place throughout the weekend at the Louisiana Folk Roots Tent. The Louisiana Crafts Fair presents traditional and fine artists and craftspeople demonstrating and selling. While listening to the unique Cajun and Zydeco music you can shop at the Crafts Fair which is located within walking distance from the music venues.
New Orleans is the birth place of jazz. The jazz festival, however, is not just a celebration of jazz, but instead a celebration of the music created from within the boundaries of Louisiana. The last week of April and the first week of May are dedicated to the inspiration of music. The festival features a wide variety of venders filling the streets with local food and crafts. There is a large area dedicated to the cultural and historical practices uniquely found in Louisiana.
The Yambilee Festival is held annually in Opelousas, Louisiana during the last full week in October. It was born over a cup of coffee between two friends as a way to honor the local sweet potato industry. It was said that this festival was to assist in the advancement of the material prosperity and progress of the State of Louisiana. This week long festival includes activities such as parades, pageants, carnival rides, music, and food.
In 1960 the Legislation named Breaux Bridge, Louisiana the Crawfish Capital of the world. Since then every May Breaux Bridge has held an annual Crawfish Festival. This festival has become one of the largest gatherings of world famous Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop music. Over a period of three days approximately thirty bands will play while hungry people flock there to enjoy the many dishes prepared with crawfish. The weekend entertainment also includes cook-offs, crawfish races, dance contests, parades, and carnival rides.
Abbeville, Louisiana holds the Annual Louisiana Cattle Festival on the first full week in October. It was originally known as the Dairy Festival but was changed to the Cattle Festival to honor the cattle industry within Louisiana. Each year outstanding people are selected for honors such as Grand Marshall, Citizen of the Year, Outstanding Cattleman, Restauranteur of the Year, and Outstanding 4-H Scholarship Winner. The fun-filled three-day Festival includes events such Cooking Contest, Queen's Pageant, Cattle Livestock Show, Parade, Live Entertainment, Street Dancing "Fais Do Do" and Street Fair. Booths with Food, Drinks, Souvenirs, Arts and Crafts, and Cajun Hospitality are available during the entire Festival.
In 1977 Gueydan was named the ”Duck Capital ofAmerica” by Louisiana Secretary of State. An annual fair is held the weekend before Labor Day dedicated to the hunting heritage of the Acadiana region. In addition to great
food and bands, there are parades, pageants, auctions, carnival rides, and arts and crafts. Contests such as the duck and goose calling, skeet shooting, and cook-offs held the weekend of the Duck Festival.
The second full weekend in October, Ville Platte hosts the Louisiana Cotton Festival and Le Tournoi de la Ville Platte. The festivities begin on Tuesday evening when authentic Acadian music, followed by the crowning of the Le Roi and La Reine (king and queen) of the local nursing home. On Wednesday, the local 4-H members hold a cookery contest and the Cotton Pickin' Pet Show. There is a carnival all week long for the children to enjoy. A beautiful harvest mass is celebrated to give thanks to our Creator for the bountiful crops followed by a colorful parade with floats, visiting queens, marching bands and the Tournoi riders dressed as knights ready for battle. After the parade, the riders run Le Tournoi (the traditional jousting tournament). Riders representing the Knights of the Round Table carry lances that they use to try to collect seven small iron rings (representing evils that destroy cotton) located around a quarter-mile circular track. The Tournoi Queen accepts the winning knight in the Ball that evening concluding the festival.
The city of Ruston has the largest orchard in Louisiana. They celebrate each year with an annual Peach Festival held on the fourth weekend in June. This festival has a variety of entertainment such as a pie eating contest, fishing tournament, rodeo, and antique car show. The Queen Dixie Gem and the Princess Peach can dance the night away at the Peach Jam in the evenings.
In April, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, hosts the Annual Strawberry Festival. This festival prides itself knowing that the only venders allowed on the grounds are non-profit organizations. The celebration includes a festival ball, talent show, Miss. Strawberry Pageant, and baking contest. Food booths and carnival rides are located all around the fair grounds.
The Christmas Festival of Lights is located in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Beginning at the end of November and continuing until January it is one of the nation’s oldest community-based holiday celebration. Mini-festivals are held every weekend in December. The Christmas Festival is on the first weekend of December. This festival brings in over 100,000 people each year whom wish to enjoy the parade, live entertainment, food, fairs, craft shows and fireworks shown over the Cane River Lake. Some even take a nightly tour by street car or horse and carriage.
The Louisiana Pecan Festival takes place the first full weekend of November each year. The Queen’s Pageant is held in October officially kicking off the festival. Festival activities include craft booths, costume contests, musical entertainment, cooking contest, carnival rides, and fireworks.
The Cracklin Festival began in 1985 as a fund-raiser for the Port Barre, Lions Club. The profits are donated to people with special causes or needs. Like most festivals, the Cracklin Festival has a variety of entertainment for all ages. Great food, live bands and carnival rides fill the fair grounds the second week in November for the Cracklin Festival. There is a Queen’s Pageant with fifteen different age division, parades, a craft show and of course a Cracklin Cook-off.
Fun rides, live music, and over 2000 gallons of gumbo is exactly what one would expect in Bridge City for their annual Gumbo Festival held the second full weekend of October. One can enjoy plenty of Cajun and Zydeco music at the fais-do-do’s. There is also a Beautiful Child Contest, and a 5K run over the Huey P. Long Bridge. King Creole Gumbo and Miss Creole Gumbo will be on hand to greet and welcome everyone visiting for the festive occasion.
Gonzales, Louisiana was named the ‘Jambalaya Capital of the World’ by Governor John McKeithen in 1968. With this wonderful news a festival was born. In the early years of this festival, the Jambalaya Queen would reign over events, like boxing on the football field, bingo in the gym, dancing to the music of five local bands, and the children carnival. In recent years the festival includes live bands, various cooking contests, a 5K run, and carnival rides for the kids. It has grown from having only 13 cooks participating in this event to having at least 69 cooks competing for the Jambalaya World Title.
The three-day event is held in Zwolle each year the second weekend in October on the Zwolle Festival Grounds. The Fiesta itself stems from a combination of Indian and Spanish efforts to produce the greatest hot tamale in the country. The Zwolle Tamale Fiesta is this towns way of recognizing the area's heritage. There are plenty of delicious hot tamales, entertainment, arts and crafts, dancing, parades, and children's activities. The Fiesta is fun for the entire family. Activities planned for the Fiesta include a tamale making demonstration, tamale eating and tamale judging contest, treasure hunt, street dance, arts & crafts, and a parade. It also features pageants, arm wrestling contests for all ages, Spanish costume contests, rides and food booths, the very popular Fiesta Mud Bog Race for trucks.
New Iberia honors the sugar industry on the last full weekend of September with its annual Sugarcane Festival. Weekend activities include an Annual Sugarcane Festival Run, The King’s Reception, The Queen’s Sugar Contest, a festive ball and the blessing of the crops. The weekend is filled with craft shows, cooking contests, fais-do-do’s, and firework displays. There are many parades to see this weekend but the most entertaining would be the annual boat parade. In the boat parade people decorate their boats and ride along Bayou Tech tossing candy into the crowds of people waving along the bayou.
In 1966, the first Swine Festival was held in Basile, Louisiana. It’s purpose was to express the importance of raising and selling feeder pigs. Although swine producing is no longer an industry the people of Basile still celebrate this festival to promote the swine industry and the Cajun Culture. You can find entertainment of all kinds at the Swine Festival. King Porky and Queen Petunia have put together a variety of activities such as boudin eating, hog calling, and greasy pig chases, live bands, and great food. Throughout the weekend you can find young and old on the carnival rides, watching the parade, or eating the wonderful Cajun cuisines.