Plenty of local festival fun on tap this April
Proceeds from the Cajun Woodstock Festival benefit St. Jude Children's Hospital.
BY: SAJA HOFFPAUIR
CROWLEY - With spring in the air, it’s time to start planning outdoor activities again, and April offers a number of fun festivals across the state.
Some of them are relatively close to home, and it might just be time to plan your mini-trip.
April 3-5: Boggy Bayou Festival - La. Highway 1172, Pine Prairie. Carnival rides, arts and crafts, queen’s pageant, live music, food.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the festival, which will include a boudin eating contest at 6 p.m. Thursday, music by Roy Chaffin and Southern Express Band Friday night and music by James Dupré Saturday night.
Admission is $6 per day for ages 13 and older, $2 per day for ages 12 and under and free for toddlers and infants. For more information, https://www.facebook.com/BoggyBayouFestivalPinePrairieLa.
April 4-6: Boudin Festival - front of Scott City Hall, 125 Lions St. Live music, carnival rides, food, arts and crafts, boudin eating contest, diaper derby.
With a great music line-up, there will be something for everyone at this festival. Friday night Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band and Keith Frank &The Soileau Zydeco Band will play. Saturday afternoon, the stage will see Bobby Page & The Swamp Pop Express, followed by Nik L Beer, Bayou Boys, Lil Nate & the Zydeco Big Timers and Chee Weez. Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys, Geno Delafosse & French Rockin Boogie and Travis Matte & the Kingpins will round out the close of the festival on Sunday.
Friday night is family night and admission is free. Admission is $5 on Saturday and Sunday, with children 12 and under free. For more information visit http://www.laboudinfestival.com/.
April 4-6: Cypress Sawmill Festival - Kemper Williams Park, Patterson. Live music, food, carnival rides and games, professional lumberjack shows, chainsaw carving, cypress sawmill display, passé partout (two-person saw) contest, arts and crafts, classic car and truck show, fun walk, exotic traveling petting zoo, old engine display and golf, fishing and softball tournaments.
On the night of Friday, April 4, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., live local talent will compete in the Country Showdown, a country music talent contest and KQKI radio promotion. The winner of the contest will compete for the state title later this year.
Admission is $5 per car Friday and $10 per car Saturday and Sunday. A weekend pass is available for $20 per car. For more information, contact the Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau at 985-395-4905 or 800-256-2931.
April 11-13: Cajun Hot Sauce Festival - SugArena, 713 Northwest Bypass, New Iberia. Live music, food, carnival rides, cook-off.
The gates open at 6 p.m. on Friday, and the entertainment lineup includes Travis Matte & the Kingpins and Todd O’Neill on Friday night; Wayne Toups and Zydecajun on Saturday night; and Chubby Carrier and Geno Delafose on Sunday.
Admission is $10 Friday and Saturday and $5 on Sunday. Children 12 and under free.
This year the festival will feature a rice and gravy cook-off. The meat (at least 8 pounds of grain-fed beef) and the rice will be provided by the festival. Recipes, of course, must include hot sauce. There is a $100 entry fee for two- to five-person teams, and entries will be accepted through April 1. For more information, visit http://www.sugarena.com/.
April 11-13: Strawberry Festival - Memorial Park, Ponchatoula. Live music, food, games, strawberry eating contests, parade, 1-mile fun run and 10K race.
This festival might not be close, but it’s a popular one, and this year it turns 43.
Admission is free. Festival hours are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information, visit http://www.lastrawberryfestival.com/.
April 10-12: Louisiana Railroad Days Festival - DeQuincy Railroad Museum Fairgrounds, DeQuincy. Live music, food, carnival rides, arts and crafts, one-mile fun run, 5K race, parade. No alcohol.
Country music artist Lorrie Morgan will play Saturday night at 8 p.m.
The festival includes a variety of unusual events, including a cupcake eating contest, a “Bling Your RR Festival T-Shirt” contest, a bicycle parade, a model train show, an “Old Timers Reunion,” a parent/child look-alike contest and a “Railroad Idol” singing contest.
Admission to the festival is free.
For more information, visit http://www.larailroaddaysfestival.com/home.
April 11-13: Bayou Teche Black Bear Fest - Downtown Historic Franklin. Live music, arts and crafts, food, ham radio event, bear raffle, guided boat trips into the Bayou Teche Wildlife Refuge, black bear obstacle course, Cajun horseshoes ($20 per team), canoe adventure ($20 per boat), fireworks, motorcycle show, 5K run/walk, teddy bear repair clinic, wooden boat show.
This non-traditional festival is aimed at educating people regarding the Louisiana black bear so it has a variety of unique events, most of which are free. Even the guided boat trips are free, although pre-registration is required.
It also features the “Cub Club Arena,” where children ages 0 to 12 have their own festival area complete with storytelling, puppet and magic shows, music, games and more.
Krossfyre will play Friday night, and Chubby Carrier will take the stage Saturday night. For more information, visit http://bayoutechebearfest.org/index.html.
April 18-20: Lao New Year Celebration - What Thammarattanaram Temple, 7913 Champa Avenue, Broussard.
Lanexang Village celebrates the Lao New Year every Easter weekend with a three-day festival that includes live music, a beauty pageant, parades, sand castle building, kids activities and several vendors selling clothes, jewelry, music and food from Southeast Asia.
The main celebration day is April 18, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 337-364-3403.
April 25-26: Parks Cracklin’ Cook-off - Cecile Rousseau Poche Memorial Park, Parks. Live music, food, arts and crafts, fun jumps, cracklin’ cook-off, poker run, $5,000 raffle.
For a “cook-off,” this event has an awful lot of great music. The line-up for Friday includes Cory Ledet, TK, GG & Steve Adams and Mark Willis & Cocodrie with Charlene Howard, and Saturday the stage will see, among others, La Recolte, Sid & Friends, Nik L Beer and Side Show.
Admission is free. For more information, visit http://parkscracklincookoff.com/index.html.
April 25-27: Etouffee Festival - St. John Francis Regis Church grounds, 370 Main St., Arnaudville. Live music, carnival rides, food, Bingo, etouffee cook-off, cash & carry store.
Live music will include Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, Chubby Carrier & Bayou Swamp Band, Cypress Band with Willie T & Warren Storm and Krossfyre.
Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.johnfrancisregis.net/etouffee_festival.html.
April 26-27: Cajun Woodstock - City Park, Church Point. Live music, food, round steak cook-off, poker run.
Like the original Woodstock, this festival focuses on music and offers plenty. Saturday will see Roy LeJeune & Cajun Review, Jimmie Breaux & Friends, Lil Wayne & Same Ol’ 2 Step, Richard LeBeouf & Two Step and Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie all take the stage.
This festival is unique in that it is a way for attendees to “give back” while enjoying themselves, as all proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The festival was actually first organized for this purpose in 2003 and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the hospital since then.Registration for the round steak rice and gravy cook-off is ongoing through April 21, and the entry fee is $50 for a four-person team.
Admission is $5, with children 12 and under free.
Last, but definitely not least, there are a few big festivals this month that need no introduction:
April 23-27: Festival International - Lafayette. For more information, visit https://www.festivalinternational.com/site.php.
April 25-May 4: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. For more information, visit http://www.nojazzfest.com.
April 26-27: Angola Spring Rodeo. For more information, visit http://www.angolarodeo.com.
April 29-May 11: Contraband Days - Lake Charles. For information, visit www.contrabanddays.com.