Fall Festival Guide

Karla Wall Wednesday, August 20, 2014 0
Fall Festival Guide

You’ll find world-famous cuisine — gumbo, jambalaya, etoufee, world-class barbecue, German cuisine, and the much-loved carnival midway standbys: funnel cake, corn  dogs, hot dogs and burgers.

Browse the numerous booths offering unique arts and crafts. Find one-of-a-kind paintings, sculptures, jewelry and more. See demonstrations by local artisans — from sculptors to woodworkers to weavers. Go back in time to the Medeival period as knights joust for the love of their ladies; jesters perform in the aisles; and gentlemen and ladies in period costume walk the aisles with roasted turkey legs in hand. Catch the color, pageantry and excitment of a hot air balloon competition; then take a tethered ride in one. Watch historical reenactments.

Dance to the best Cajun, Zydeco and swamp pop music you’ll hear anywhere. Play games of chance. Feel like a kid again as you take to the air on the biggest, baddest carnival rides.

There’s something for everyone at SWLA festivals. And fall is the festival season in SWLA; it’s when you’ll find the state’s biggest and most popular events.

Get ready for dancing, eating and just passin’ a good time. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the season’s biggest and best events to help you plan your fun-filled fall.


Delcambre Shrimp Festival

Aug. 13-17 • Shrimp Festival Grounds • Delcambre, La. • 337-685-2653 • shrimpfestival.net

Delcambre is home to one of the state’s most productive shrimping fleets, and each year the town celebrates this big industry with one of the state’s biggest festivals. This year, there will be access by boat, with docking available at the new North Pier Marin, just three blocks south of the festival grounds. Activities will include a shrimp cook-off; food booths with a wide variety of shrimp dishes, as well as hamburgers and hot dogs; carnival rides; a blessing of the fleet; a fishermen’s Mass; pageants and a fais-do-do.

Live entertainment will feature DJ Homer Stelly, Krossfyre, Beau Young, Jamie Bergeron and the Kickin’ Cajuns, Kyle Wooton, Tracy Lawrence, Frank Foster, Wayne Toups, T.K. Hulin and Smoke, Willie T., Warren Storm and G.G. Shin.

Admission is free Wed., Thurs. and Sun.; gate fee is $5 on Friday and $10 on Saturday. Kids 12 and younger admitted for free.


Le Cajun French Music Awards Festival

Aug. 14-16 • Rayne Civic Center • cajunfrenchmusic.org

The Cajun French Music Association sponsors this three-day event celebrating the rich history and importance of Cajun music in Southwest Louisiana.

The festival kicks off on Aug. 14 with a French speaking contest and chapter awards show in Breaux Bridge, and continues Aug. 15 with the Le Cajun Music Awards show at the Rayne Civic Center. Performing at the ceremony will be Jackie Caillier, Ivy Dugas and the Cajun Cousins. Doors open at 5:30  pm, and the ceremony begins at 7 pm.

The dance festival on Saturday, Aug. 16, will include craft booths and Creole food. There’ll also, of course, be a full line-up of some of the best Cajun musicians around, including Jesse Brown and Choupique, Lee Benoit and the Bayou Stompers, Briggs Brown, Jr. Hebert and the Maurice Playboys, Chris Miller and Bayou Roots, and Donny Broussard and the LA Stars.

Admission is $7 for the performance on Friday, and $10 for the festival on Saturday. Kids 12 and younger are admitted free to all events.


Arts and Crabs Fest

Aug. 16, 5-8 pm • Lake Charles Civic Center • 337-439-2787 • artsandhumanitiesswla.org

This festival brings together the  food, music and art of SWLA. With a $25 ticket, visitors can enjoy a crab and beer  tasting that features dishes from area restaurants. The dishes will be paired with Louisiana craft beers. There will also be live music, art displays and cultural activities. Proceeds support the Arts Council’s programs and services.


Gueydan Duck Festival

Aug. 21-24 • Duck Festival Park, Gueydan duckfestival.org • email: info@DuckFestival.org

Gueydan is called the Duck Capital of America, and the town celebrates that rich tradition and heritage with a long weekend of activities, including carnival rides, parades, a family night with free admission, skeet shooting, duck decoy carving and painting demonstrations, duck and goose calling contests, dog trials, pageants (including a senior pageant) and an outdoor cook-off.


Shrimp and Petroleum Festival

Aug. 28-Sept. 1 • downtown Morgan City, La. • 985-385-0703 • shrimpandpetroleum.org

The state’s oldest chartered harvest festival, this event celebrates the two major industries in South Louisiana with five days of activities and entertainment for the whole family.

Activities will include a carnival, a cultural heritage expo, a blessing of the fleet ceremony, a Mass, a fireworks show, a dessert contest, arts and crafts shows and sales, a golf tournament, a fishing tournament, a car show, a poker run, a 5 K run/walk, a fireworks show and a children’s activity village.

Music lineup includes Tommy G and Stormy Weather, Drunk Punch Ponies, Supercharger, At Fault, Velvet Sky, Snapper and the Fishsticks, Voodoo Gumbo, Chubby Carrier, Brasher/Bogue, Frontiers, Mojeaux, Amanda Shaw, South 70, the Hal Bruni Band, and Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys.

Admission is free.


 SWLA Zydeco 

Music Festival • Aug. 30 • Zydeco Park Plaisance Community of Opelousas •  zydeco.org

This festival is the main event in a weeks-long celebration of Zydeco music in Southwest Louisiana.

At the festival, you’ll find plenty of Creole food, arts and crafts booths, cultural and music workshops and, of course, some of the area’s best Zydeco artists.


Boo Zoo’s Labor Day Festival

Sept. 1, 10 am-until • Lake Charles Civic Center • 337-438-3482

Celebrating its 30th year, this festival honors the late Zydeco musician Boo Zoo Chavis. The event will feature great Cajun food and live entertainment. Music will begin at 11 am.

Admission is $15 for adults, and $2 for children 12 and younger. No ice chests allowed.


Pepper Festival

Sept. 5-6 • St. Martinville

The annual fundraiser for the St. Martinville Kiwanis Club, this festival is held along the banks of the Bayou Teche in St. Martinville. It will offer live music, kids’ games and rides, arts and crafts displays and sales, a fun run, plenty of food, and a pepper eating contest.


St. Jude Fall Festival

Sept. 12-13 • 352 Carter Ferry Rd., Zwolle, La. • 318-315-0104 • stjudefallfest@yahoo.com

A family-oriented event that will include a Walk of Hope, a parade, games, bingo, live music, lots of food, arts and crafts, a mud bog event and an auction.


Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival

Sept. 12-13 • Natchitoches, La. • natchitoches.net

Carnival rides, vendors, live music, DJs, a meat pie eating contest, fun run and lots of great food featuring, of course, the world-famous Natchitoches meat pie.


Oldies But Goodies Festival and State Championship Barbecue Cookoff

Sept. 13-14 • westbatonrouge.net

West Baton Rouge Tourist Information and Conference Center N. Westport Dr. • Port Allen, La. • 800-654-9701

This fun weekend includes the state championship barbecue cookoff on Sept. 13, and the festival. Visitors can enjoy not only the contest, but live music, an antique car show, a poker run, jitterbug and twist contests, a Hula Hoop contest, food and beverage vendors, arts and crafts vendors, and more.


Mamou Cajun Music Festival

Sept. 19-20 • Mamou, La. • mamoucajunmusicfestival.com

Cajun food, live music, games and contests, and workshops on Cajun dance and fiddle making will be featured. Music lineup includes Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys, David Fontenot and Friends, Briggs Brown and the Fall Down Playboys, Pete Bergeron and the Bayou Boys, Jamie Bergeron and the Kickin’ Cajuns, and Troy LeJeune and Cajun Revue.


Marthaville Good Ole Days Festival

Sept. 19-20 • Marthaville, La. (25 miles west of Natchitoches) • explorenatchitoches.com

The town of Marthaville was settled in 1851, and incorporated in 1884 as a timber town. The town celebrates that long and rich history and heritage with a weekend of family fun including a parade, gospel singing, family reunions, a craft and toy trade area, food, kids’ activities, and plenty of live music, including a Nashville country music show.


St. Theresa Bon-Ton Festival

Sept. 19-21 • St. Theresa Catholic Church • Carlyss, La • 337-496-7811 or 337-583-4800 • st-theresa-parish.org

Sponsored by St. Theresa Catholic Church, this local favorite features family entertainment in a wholesome atmosphere. You’ll find not only food, particularly barbecue, but also carnival rides, a tractor pull,  a petting zoo, a talent show, lawn mower pulls, a washer board tournament, a garage sale, a 5K run and kids’ run, an outdoor Mass, game booths, live music, a country store, live and silent auctions, and a sweet shop.


Allen Parish Fair

Sept. 19-21 • Allen Parish Fairgrounds • Oberlin

This fair and festival offers music, livestock shows, a rodeo, carnival rides and food.


Sabine Parish Fair

Sept. 23-27 • Sabine Parish Fairgrounds • Many, La. • 318-508-3161

Carnival rides, games, rodeos, arts and crafts, livestock shows, food and live music will be featured.


Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Fest

Sept. 26-27 • Cassidy Park • Bogalusa

This event features a high school band parade; a kids’ zone with spacewalks, climbing wall and train rides; a native American and pioneer museum; art and food vendors; a harmonica workshop for kids; and a lineup of some of the area’s best blues artists.


La. Sugar Cane Festival

Sept. 24-28 • downtown New Iberia • hisugar.org

This annual festival honors the sugar cane producers and processors of the area, and the contribution of the sugar cane industry to the 23 sugar cane-producing parishes in the state. Activities will include carnival rides, live music, arts and crafts, an art show, food, a blessing of the crops, cooking contests, a kids’ day, a sugar cane exhibit, a car show, a pageant and more.

Music lineup will include Wayne Toups, Louisiana Red, Spank the Monkey, Taken Back Yesterday, Bad Boys, The Vermillion, Debbie Deb and Chee Weez.


Alligator Festival

Sept. 26-29 • West Bank Bridge Park • Luling, La. (St. Charles Parish) • 985-785-9035 • stcharlesrotary.com/alfestival

Live music, carnival rides, alligator dishes and other Cajun cuisine, a golf tournament, a 5K run, children’s activities and crafts will be featured.


Walker Pine Tree Festival

Sept. 26-28 • Walker High School • Walker, La.

Located just east of Denham Springs along the I-12 corridor, the town of Walker celebrates the ubiquitous evergreen with a weekend of carnival rides, food, crafts and games.


Jim Bowie Festival

Sept. 26-27 • Vidalia Riverfront • Vidalia, La. • 318-336-8223 • concordiachamberofcommerce.com /jimbowiefestival

This event commemorates the 1827 duel that gave birth to the legend of Jim Bowie. In addition to a re-enactment of the infamous Sandbar Duel, there will be a barbecue contest, a pageant, kids’ rides, live bands, vendors and a street dance.


Ascension Hot Air Balloon Competition And Festival

Sept. 26-27 • Lamar-Dixon Expo Center • Gonzales, La. • ascensionballooning.com

This thrill-packed weekend combines a hot air balloon championship with a two-day festival complete with live music and carnival rides and games.

You can also enjoy a barbecue cookoff, arts and crafts booths, a car show, fireworks displays and tethered hot air balloon rides. There’ll also be a children’s village with face painting and a petting zoo. Admission is $2.


Calca-Chew Festival

Sept. 28 • St. Margaret’s Catholic Church • Lake Charles • 337-439-4585 • stmargaretcatholicchurch.com

This annual smorgasbord of Creole and Cajun cuisine features some of the best dishes from some of the area’s best Cajun cooks. St. Margaret parishioners will prepare such delights as shrimp etoufee, boudin, fried fish, cracklins, gumbo and barbecue.

Visitors can enjoy arts and crafts booths, live music, dancing, cake and pie judging, a raffle, live and silent auctions and door prizes. Children can enjoy a petting zoo, games and train rides.

The festival will begin with a 7 am Mass and continue through 3 pm. Admission is free.


Beauregard Parish Fair

Sept. 30-Oct. 4 • DeRidder, La

A parade, pageant, carnival rides, food vendors, and arts and crafts will be featured.


West Louisiana Forestry Festival

Oct. 1-5 • Vernon Parish Fairgrounds • Leesville, La • 337-238-0647, 337-238-0324 • vppjla.com

This festival features 4-H horse and livestock shows, pageants, woodsmen’s skills contests, a rodeo, carnival rides and food vendors.


Lecompte Pie Festival

Oct. 3-4 • Lecompte, La. • asliceoflouisiana.net

Held in the pie capital of the state, this festival offers rides, kids’ games, food booths, arts and crafts, a parade, a pageant and, of course, plenty of sweet, fruit-filled baked goods.


Denham Springs Antique District Fall Festival

Oct. 4, 9 am-5 pm • Antique District • Denham Springs, La. • denhamspringsantiquedistrict.net

Denham Springs’ antique district comes alive with over 150 vendors selling unique items. Shop the district’s many antique stores. Take a break in one of the area’s great restaurants, or grab something on the go from one of the many food vendors. Browse the festival’s art exhibits. Dance to the live music. Let the kids enjoy one of the many kiddie rides.


Robert’s Cove Germanfest

Oct. 4-5 • St. Leo’s Catholic Church Grounds Rayne, La. • robertscovegermanfest.com

Providing clean, wholesome fun for the entire family, this annual festival honors the German heritage of Robert’s Cove. German music, a heritage museum, a home brew competition, gifts, a “kiddie land” with children’s activities, cultural demonstrations, folklore presentations and more will be featured.

And, of course, there’ll be plenty of German food on hand: sauerkraut with potato and wurst, German potato salad, sausage on a bun, brisket, dill pickles and more. Wash it all down with — what else? — a variety of beers.


Red River Revel Arts Festival

Oct. 4-11 • Festival Plaza • Shreveport, La. • redriverrevel.com

This eight-day festival will feature three stages of live music with a lineup that offers a wide variety of music. You’llalso find street performers, and a huge variety of food, including Cajun dishes, funnel cake and ice cream, Natchitoches meat pies and turkey legs.

Over 100 artists will be displaying works from a variety of mediums, including oils and acrylics, metal, ceramics and watercolors. Other shows and demonstrations include martial arts, ballet, gymnastics and much more.

Shop the vendors for artwork, gourmet jams, soaps, candies and more. Children can enjoy fun and educational arts-related activities, such as face painting, ceramic painting, geologic digging and sand art.


La. Cotton Festival

Oct. 7-12 • North Side Civic Center • Ville Platte, La. • louisianacottonfestival.com

Festivalgoers can enjoy authentic Acadian music and food, a pet show, a beer booth, a farmer’s market, a flower display, a carnival, a fais-do-do, a harvest Mass, a pageant, a parade. The festival is capped off by the running of the ancient jousting game known as Le Tournoi.


Zwolle Tamale Fiesta

Oct. 9-11 • Zwolle Festival Grounds • Zwolle, La. • (318) 256-3523 • zwolletamalefiesta.com

Though Zwolle, just south of Shreveport, is named after a Dutch town, it has a rich Spanish and Mexican heritage, having been part of Texas under Mexican rule during the early 19th Century.

This annual festival celebrates that heritage with a weekend of fun, music and food, including live music, street dance, arts and crafts, carnival rides, concessions, a pageant, a Spanish costume contest, an arm wrestling contest, eating contests, a tamale making contest, a fun run and group dance performances.


La. Cattle Festival and Fair

Oct. 10-12 • Abbeville, La. • louisianacattlefestival.org

Children’s activities, cooking contests, livestock competitions and exhibits, pageants (including a baby pageant), music, rides, vendors and food will be featured.


Bridge City Gumbo Festival

Oct. 10-12 • Gumbo Festival Park • Angel Square, Bridge City, La.(near Westwego) • 504-436-4881 • bridgecitygumbofestival.org

The food offerings will feature, of course, seafood and chicken-and-sausage gumbo, as well as other Cajun favorites such as Jambalaya. But attendees will also find the old carnival standbys like hamburgers, hot dogs and funnel cakes. There’ll be live music and a fais-do-do, a pageant  and a gumbo cooking contest.


Festivals Acadiens et Creoles

Oct. 9-12 • downtown Lafayette and Girard Park • festivalsacadiens.com

Actually four festivals in one, this year’s celebration of Cajun culture and music will include some of the best Cajun food in the area, including boudin, catfish courtbouillion, meat pies and jambalaya. There’ll also be live entertainment featuring some of the state’s best zydeco and Cajun music, and arts and crafts exhibits and booths.


Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival

Oct. 11-12 • Lake Pontchartrain Maritime Museum, on the Tchefuncte River, I-12 Exit 59, Hwy. 21 S., Madisonville

985-845-9200 • woodenboatfest.org

This event is the annual fundraiseror the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum. It features food, entertainment, art, music, arts and crafts, and a children’s village with games and performances.

The popular Quick and Dirty Boat Building Contest will be offered again this year. Teams will struggle to build seaworthy craft from the materials they are provided. The event culminates in a race of the craft.

A free shuttle between the museum and the Water Street site on the river will be provided.


Cal-Cam Fair

Oct. 15-19 • West Cal Arena, Sulphur

This old-fashioned country fair will feature livestock competitions, food booths, pageants, carnival rides, live entertainment, wildlife exhibits, baked and canned goods competitions, and more.


Intl. Rice Festival

Oct. 16-19 • downtown Crowley • ricefestival.com

This is a family-friendly celebration of Cajun heritage, culture and food. There will be carnival rides, arts and crafts, fiddle and accordion contests, a rice eating contest, a poker run, a classic car show, a 5K run/walk, a senior citizens ball, cooking contests, a frog derby, a rice grading contest and more.

Music will be featured on two stages. Scheduled to appear are Charley Rivers, Kira Viator and Bayou Beat, Wayne Toups and Zydecajun, Nik L Beer, Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie, Tracy Byrd, Chris Himel and Outbound, Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys, Apollo’s Crows, Bag of Donuts, Colby Latiolais and Ambush, Bonne Chance, Chee Weez, Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners, T.J. Gautreaux, Johnny Chauvin and Chris Ardoin.


Andouille Festival

Oct. 17-19 • St. John Center, Laplace, La. • andouillefestival.com

This festival celebrates the best-tasting andouille sausage in the world with cooking contests using andouille in gumbo, jambalaya and miscellaneous categories. Carnival rides, games, kids’ activities (including a kids’ art tent), a fun run and live music will be featured.


LOUISIANA Gumbo Festival

Oct. 17-19 • Chackbay, La. •  lagumbofest.com

Plenty of great Cajun food, carnival rides, a 5K, a pageant, a parade, a live auction, a raffle and live entertainment will be featured. Music lineup includes LA Cruze, Tet Dur, Bandit, Ben Wells, 90 Degrees West, South 70, Ross Grisham, Junior and Sumtin Sneaky, and 5-Finger Discount.


French Food Festival

Oct. 23-26 • Larose Civic Center • Larose, La. • bayoucivicclub.org

Sample some of the best Cajun food around, dance to some of the best live music, and enjoy the carnival rides. There’ll also be a cake decorating contest, a three-on-three basketball tournament, a fun run/walk a pro tour bull riding event, a live auction, an art show and a Cajun market. There’ll be plenty of free parking, and there’s no gate fee. Overnight camping is available with advance reservations.


Black Pot Festival and Cookoff

Oct. 24-25 • Acadian Village, Lafayette, La. •  blackpotfestival.com

Enjoy a weekend of old-fashioned fun, including square dancing, an accordion contest, and lots of live music — everything from Creole and Zydeco to bluegrass.

The highlight of the festival, though, will be the black pot (cast iron pot) cookoff, with categories such as cracklins, “sauce” or gravy, jambalaya, gumbo and desserts.

There will be ample tent and RV camping space.


Yellow Leaf Arts Festival

Oct. 25-26, 10 am-5 pm • Parker Park • St. Francisville, La. • stfrancisvillefestivals.com

Stroll through the booths at this small, charming festival, and you’ll find local artists and artisans selling authentic and unique works, from sculpture to wood pieces to metal sculptures, and much more. No factory-produced art items here; all works are authentic.

You can also enjoy live music, a metalworking demonstration, and local foods (including locally grown sweet potatoes baked in pies, muffins and cakes). There’ll also be a kids’ art activity zone.


LOUISIANA Swine Festival

Oct. 31-Nov.2 • West Basile Town Park • Basile, La. • evangelinetourism.com

This festival features carnival rides, kids’ games, live music, a greased pig contest, a hog calling contest, and lots of food, including pork prepared in any way you can imagine.


Abbeville Giant Omelette Celebration

Nov. 1-2 • Magdalene Square • downtown Abbeville • giantomelette.org

According to legend, when Napoleon and his army were traveling through the south of France, they decided to rest for the night near the town of Bessieres. Napoleon feasted on an omelette prepared by a local innkeeper. It was such a culinary delight that he ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and to prepare a huge omelette for his army the next day. From this beginning, the community omelet became a tradition to feed the poor of the village at Easter, and the town of Bessiers, France, still celebrates the holiday each year with a community omelet.

Abbeville celebrates that tradition with a weekend of music, arts and crafts, gallery and home tours, food vendors and more. Of course, you won’t want to miss the highlight: the procession of chefs to the cooking area, where the community omelet is prepared and served with French bread.


LOUISIANA Renaissance Festival

Nov. 1-Dec. 7 (weekends) and Friday, Nov. 28 • Robert, La., (east of Hammond) • la-renfest.com

This is an all-out Medieval pageant, a cross between a theme park and a festival. There will be more than 100 places to shop, and more than a dozen stages will offer entertainment — over 50 shows, including swordfighting and jousting tournaments; juggling; music demonstrations (including dulcimer, lute and bagpipes); blacksmithing demonstrations; puppet shows; falconry shows and kids’ shows.  There will also be a “living history” center, a wine and whiskey tasting; and Celtic music. The festival is held rain or shine.


LOUISIANA Renaissance Festival

Nov. 1-Dec. 7 (weekends) and Friday, Nov. 28 • Robert, La., (east of Hammond) • la-renfest.com

This is an all-out Medieval pageant, a cross between a theme park and a festival. There will be more than 100 places to shop, and more than a dozen stages will offer entertainment — over 50 shows, including swordfighting and jousting tournaments; juggling; music demonstrations (including dulcimer, lute and bagpipes); blacksmithing demonstrations; puppet shows; falconry shows and kids’ shows.  There will also be a “living history” center, a wine and whiskey tasting; and Celtic music. The festival is held rain or shine.


Port Barre Cracklin Festival

Nov. 6-9 • St. Landry Parish • I-10E, Exit 103B to I-49N, Exit 19 to 190E • 337-331-0669 • Portbarrecracklinfestival.com

Major features of this festival will be a parade (at 10 am Nov. 8) and the cracklin cookoff (at 2 pm on Nov. 9) and a pageant. There will also be carnival rides, all available at one price.

Musical performers will include Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, Chris Ardoin & Nustep Zydeco, Lil Kenny & The Heartbreakers, Kevin Naquin & The Ossun Playboys, Jamie Bergeron & The Kickin’ Cajuns, Wallace Trahan & Rice and Gravy, Ryan Foret & Foret Tradition and John Conlee.

The event is sponsored by the Port Barre Lions Club.


Rayne Frog Festival

Nov. 15 •  I-10 Exit 87, Rayne • raynefrogfestival.com,

The next full-schedule Rayne Frog Festival will be held May 6-9, 2015, as the festival moves to its new spring dates. To tide you over, the town of Rayne is hosting a one-day event Nov. 15, 10 am-midnight, at the Frog Festival Pavilion.

The event will feature live music, plenty of food, arts and crafts, and more.