Living The Good Life
Gallery: Fall Festivals [10 Images] Click any image to expand.
By Michelle Matthews Calloway
Those of us living in Acadiana are afforded the unique privilege of attending and enjoying the cultural bounty of festivals, historic home tours, boat races and art and craft fairs. Weekends throughout the remainder of the year provide excellent occasions to round up the family and connect with friends to share great food, wonderful live music and good times.
Downtown Alive!: Fridays: Sept.-Dec.
When you’re throwing the best Friday night party for 30 years, it should be a Kickoff Celebration! Get ready to rock with the World’s Greatest 80’s Tribute Band, The Molly Ringwalds at Parc International Friday, September 13th! This Kickoff Celebration is also about kicking off the home-game season for UL Ragin’ Cajuns when Nicholls fans will be in Lafayette for the big game. Join Coach Hud and the Mollys for the biggest Kickoff Celebration in history!
The Fall 2013 season continues every Friday with Grammy winner Chubby Carrier, BandSwap featuring The Patti Fiasco & Feufollet, a First-ever Fall Music Extravaganza, Cajun Party-Maker, Travis Matte, new-comers Carbon Poppies & Cardinal Sons and DTA! favorites Nik-L-Beer, Louisiana Red and 5th Avenue and the UL Homecoming Pep Rally. The season closes with a special Holiday Celebration featuring Pine Leaf Boys.
Acadiana’s premiere concert series, Downtown Alive! has united community and culture to create a weekly tradition and celebration in Downtown Lafayette every Fall and Spring. This Fall DTA! once again offers great entertainment in the form of free, smoke free, family-friendly outdoor concerts.
DTA! begins at 5:30 p.m. with food and beverage concessions and musical performances from 6-8:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Concession sales help keep DTA! free, so please leave your ice chests at home with your pets. For more information and a full Fall 2013 Schedule, visit downtownlafayette.org/. Downtown Alive! is produced by Downtown Lafayette in cooperation with Lafayette Consolidated Government.
Lydia Cajun Food Fest: Sept. 13-14
Weeks Park in Lydia is front and center Sept. 13-14 for the Annual Lydia Cancer Association Cajun Food Fest. All proceeds from the Festival go to the Lydia Cancer Association to financially assist cancer patients in four surrounding parishes. This is a festival where you and your family can come out to have fun and support a worthy cause.
The Festival opens Friday at 5 p.m. with a fais-do-do. Children can enjoy carnival rides and everyone can partake of the good Cajun food. Dance to the music of the Bad Boys from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and then enjoy the sounds of Side Show from 9-11 p.m.
Saturday features a Car Show and a full day of activities with opening ceremonies and a Poker Run at 9 a.m. and a Survival Walk at 9:30 a.m. The fun kicks up into high gear with carnival rides, face painting, People’s Choice Cook-Off, food vendors, arts and crafts and t-shirt sales. The musical line up can’t be beat: come and hear Jr. Flores & The Bayou Boys from 10-11:30 a.m., Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie from noon-2 p.m., the Bayou Classics from 2:30-4:15 p.m., Taken Back Yesterday from 4:45-6:30 p.m. and Blue Eyed Doll from 7-9 p.m. The festival ends at 11 p.m. For more information contact Ronald Landry at 365-3005 or Reed Freeman at 577-0376 or visit http://www.lydiacancerassociation.org/. This festival promises to have something for everyone and you certainly don’t want to miss it!
Les Cadiens du Teche Cajun French Music Festival: Sept. 21
If you love the sweet sounds of music and love to dance even more, put your dancing shoes on and head on over to the Cajun French Music Festival sponsored by Les Cadiens du Teche, New Iberia’s Chapter of the Cajun French Music Association. Come to Cyr Gates Community Center in New Iberia City Park on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the best in Cajun music, savory food and delectable sweets and appearances by Festival Royalty from surrounding parishes.
The CMFA distributes all proceeds back into the local community. For more information contact Troy Broussard at 369-7538.
Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival & Fair: Sept. 25-29
“Hi Sugar!” is the classic greeting received by attendees at Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival & Fair. The area’s cane farmers and citizens have been celebrating the sugar cane harvest in grand style for the past 72 years and this year promises to be no different. The five day event features something for everyone, with outstanding cuisine and sweets, Festival Royalty, rides, an Arts and Crafts show and 4-H Livestock Show, Sugar Cane Exhibit, Sugar Daddy’s Car Show, live music, a variety of parades and Cajun Line Dancers performing a “Tribute to Zydeco” from noon-2 p.m. at New Iberia’s City Park Community Center (call Gerry Cormier at 394-4731 for more information on this feature).
The Mitchell Brothers Shows carnival with a full 14 acres of rides and games suitable for all ages will run Wednesday - Sunday at the Louisiana PepperPlex, 607 Sucrose Dr., off Highway 14 in New Iberia (across from the Iberia Parish Tourist Center between Lowe’s and Center Point Energy). Wednesday is “Family Night” with all rides for $1 from 5-11 p.m. Thursday’s Show runs from 3-11 p.m. with pay “one price” and individual ticket purchase options. Friday is another “Kid’s Day,” with the Show running from noon-11 p.m. and rides for $1 from noon until 5 p.m. (regular fare after 5 p.m.). The Show runs Saturday from noon-11 p.m. and Sunday immediately following the parade.
Meanwhile, an Arts & Crafts Show and food vendors will be available on Main Street in Downtown New Iberia. Visit the Arts & Crafts Show at the Steamboat Pavilion and patronize the food vendors at Bouligny Plaza Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Fais-do-dos and concerts will also be in full swing at Bouligny Plaza at the Hi Sugar Stage. Thursday is free entry and the evening music events include the bands Shut Up And Drive, Four Pauls and Seasoned Soul from 7-11 p.m. On Friday, pay a $5.00 cover charge and groove to the sounds of Beer 30 from 7-9 p.m., Steve Grisaffe from 9:30-10 p.m. and Jamie Bergeron & The Kickin’ Cajuns from 10 p.m. -midnight. Larry Sigue will perform Zydeco music Saturday after the Children’s Parade from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Saturday night, headliners include Cajun Throwdown from 7-8:30 p.m., Side Show from 9-10:45 p.m. and Stevie B from 11-midnight ($10 cover charge).
Friday is “Sugar Cane Growers Day.” A special service with a mass and blessing of the crop will be held Friday morning at 10 a.m. at the Sugar Cane Festival Building, 600 Parkview Drive in New Iberia. Residents and local merchants participate in the festivities by decorating their homes and businesses with commemorative signs and stalks of sugar cane. The Sugar Cane Exhibit will open for public viewing at 2 p.m. at the Cyr Gates Community Center, 300 Parkview Dr., New Iberia City Park.
The Boat Parade marks the start of Festival parades and begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday with a salute to the Parade Grand Marshall, King Sucrose, Queen Sugar and other Festival dignitaries. A free fireworks show at the banks of the Bayou Teche immediately follows the parade. The Children’s Parade commences down Main Street at 10 a.m. on Saturday and the Royalty Parade is Sunday at 2 p.m.
Sunday marks the grand culmination of festival events with a Royalty Mass at St. Peter’s Catholic Church at 10 a.m. Colby Boudreaux and Southern Beat will perform from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with no cover charge. The Royalty Parade commences at 2 p.m.
As you can see, the Sept. 25-29 five-day celebration presents an astonishing array of events. Each day at Bouligny Plaza festival goers may select for purchase from a large assortment of novelty items, arts and crafts and festival memorabilia. Hot and sweet treats will also be available for purchase.
The 4-H livestock show will be held in conjunction with the festival Thursday through Saturday at SugArena, 713 N.W. Bypass (Hwy. 3212). Iberia 4-H and FFA members will show hogs, steers, lambs and goats. 4-H and FFA members residing in Louisiana’s 23 sugar producing parishes can also participate in the cattle and rabbit exhibit. 4-H is also sponsoring a sugar cookery contest, sugar cane exhibit and sugar cane judging contest. For more information on the 4-H show, call 337-369-4440 or visit lsuagcenter.com/en/our_offices/parishes/Iberia/.
The Hi Sugar 5K Run will start from Bouligny Plaza at 7:30 a.m. on the Saturday before the festival (Sept. 21). The race will conclude with food, drinks, awards and door prizes. For more information send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit online at runsignup.com/Race/LA/NewIberia/HiSugar5Krun.
A “crowning” event of the Festival is the coronation of Queen Sugar. Other activities include judging of best decorated storefronts and homes, the Bayou Girl Scouts District Bake-Off competition, a sugar cookery display, arts and crafts, garden/flower and photography exhibits and shows.
Official festival merchandise will be available for purchase in New Iberia at Sir Speedy (910 S. Lewis St., 337-364-8714), Advertec (206-A E. Main St.), Walgreens (1017 E. Admiral Doyle Dr., 337-367-7979; and 1102 Parkview Dr., 337-560-1807), and All About You (801 S. Lewis St., 337-560-8355). The 2013 Festival poster by local artist Steve Seneca can be purchased at Sir Speedy.
For more information on the Festival, call 369-9323, send an email to email@example.com, “Like” the Festival page on Facebook at facebook.com/LouisianaSugarCaneFestival or visit online at hisugar.org.
Tour du Teche III: Oct. 4-6
The organizers of Tour du Teche desired to bring focus and attention to the Bayou Teche in southwestern Louisiana by creating a “through the night” marathon. They had the dual purpose of “introducing the beautiful Teche Country to paddlers and other eco-tourists from beyond, and to illustrate for its residents the recreational, aesthetic, cultural and economic value of Bayou Teche.” Lovers of canoes, kayaks and pirogues (the traditional Cajun canoe) paddle race along the entire length of Bayou Teche, a total of 135 miles including small sections of Bayou Courtableau and the Atchafalaya River.
Executive Director Nicole Patin says that the Tour encompasses a staged three-day race and five shorter races starting at Port Barre on Friday with a finish 49 miles later in St. Martinville near the oak made famous in Longfellow’s epic “Evangeline.” There will be Zydeco music playing and Creole food cooking. Saturday’s 59-mile race starts in St. Martinville and ends in Franklin, an old steamboat port with stately plantation homes and a lively waterfront. The toughest part of the race is only 27 miles but by Sunday strength and resolve are sapped and the bayou is wide and windswept here, subject to contrary tides from the nearby Gulf of Mexico. The race ends on the Atchafalaya River at Berwick, a once sleepy fishing village energized by the oil and gas industry. The music here might have a strong Texas or Oklahoma influence.
Two classes or levels are involved in the race: Racing, in which some of the fastest boats and paddlers from around the world vie for cash prizes; and Voyageur, or recreational, where the participants challenge themselves as well as each other for trophies, bragging rights and adventure. Participants are encouraged to register by or before 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 and ensure their mail-in entries are postmarked by this date.
Mandatory pre-race boat and equipment checks are held in Port Barre at the Veteran’s Memorial Park Thursday, Oct. 4 from 1-7 p.m. Mandatory Safety Talks for paddlers and courers des bois are held at the top of every hour from 3-7 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. entrants and spectators can enjoy laissez les bon temps roulez with music, dancing and spirits. The boat launch is Friday at 6:30 a.m. and the Opening Ceremony is held at 7 a.m.
Time lines and destinations are set for each stage of the race. Accompanying festivals and entertainment is provided at each stop along the way so everyone is assured of a rollicking good time. Remember, “C’es pas juste une course!” is the motto for the race – that’s Cajun French for “It’s not just a race!” It has been called one big party interrupted by races. For more information or a registration form call Nicole at 789-0319, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit tourduteche.com.
Tour du Teche La Grande Boucherie: Oct. 4-5
While you’re enjoying the Tour du Teche, make sure you enjoy the La Grand Boucherie sponsored by the St. Martinville Main Street Association and held in conjunction with the Tour. The oldest festival in St. Martinville, the Boucherie has been a cultural festival for more than 40 years and was previously hosted by the Jaycees. Activities at past Boucherie festivals included the greased pig contest, the grease pole contest and the cultural slaughtering of the pig. Though weather-related events hindered the festival in the past, this year Boucherie organizers are prepared to go full steam ahead.
The Boucherie will be held on the City of St. Martinville’s newly acquired festival grounds located in downtown St. Martinville along Bayou Teche on North New Market Street. Gates open Friday at 6 p.m. and close at 10 p.m. The music lineup includes Lil Wayne & Same Old Two Step from 6-7 p.m. and Nik-L-Beer from 8-10 p.m. On Saturday the gates open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and you can enjoy live music all day long as you’re treated to the sounds of Jr. Flores from 10-11:30 a.m., Kevin Naquin from noon to 1:30 p.m., Side Show from 2-3:30 p.m. and Wayne Toups from 4-6 p.m. Come to the Boucherie and participate in activities designed for your entire family, visit the food and craft booths and view the exciting boat races. For more information please contact the St. Martinville Main Street Association at 394-2230 or 394-2233.
World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off: Oct. 11-13
Are you ready for some good ole Cajun and Creole gumbo? October brings both the promise of a respite from blazing hot summer temperatures and the onset of the first of many good bowls of gumbo. The 24th Annual World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off presents one of the best ways to indulge in this iconic Louisiana dish. The second Friday every year in October kicks off this much-anticipated three-day event hosted by the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce. This year’s theme is “Red, White & Roux.”
Held on the historic and award-winning Main Street in downtown, patrons are invited to start this gumbo-filled weekend Friday night at the Steamboat Pavilion in Bouligny Plaza and come to hear the Nik-L-Beer Band from 7-10 p.m. Saturday’s events began early in the day at 8 a.m. with a Roux Run (5k and 1-mile fun run) hosted by On Tap. Everyone is invited to come out and enjoy live music all day, with shopping deals from downtown merchants and museum tours. Saturday is also the day when you can sample delectable cuisine from approximately 50 teams cooking anything BUT gumbo during the lunch hour, including jambalaya, corn and crab bisque, fried fish, red beans and rice, funnel cakes and finger-licking desserts. Purchase tickets for food sampling and to enjoy cold drinks, cold beer and mixed drinks.
Sunday is the day to indulge in all that good gumbo because this is the day that the actual “Battle of the Rouxs,” or the cook-off competition begins. Get your bowls and spoons ready, because the gumbo tasting begins at 11 a.m. when nearly 100 teams compete for the World Champion Gumbo Cook-Off title. Amateurs will compete in the seafood, chicken and sausage, and mélange categories. Tickets are $4 for seafood and $3 for non-seafood gumbos and cold drinks, cold beer and mixed drinks will also be available for purchase. The winner who will claim the title of “Best Gumbo In The World” will be announced at 3:30 p.m. In addition to all the glorious gumbo, attendees will also be treated to the live music sounds of Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, Jamie Bergeron & The Kickin’ Cajuns, Ryan Foret & Foret Tradition, Grammy Award Winner Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band and Chris Ardoin & NuStep Zydeco.
For more details visit
Festivals Acadiens et Creoles: Oct. 11-13
Louisiana’s rich cultural heritage comes to the fore at Festivals Acadiens et Creoles. This premier festival features the very best in Acadien or Cajun culture. Visitors, both international and domestic travel from far and wide to come to Girard Park in Lafayette to enjoy exquisite arts and crafts and some of the best live music and cuisine that the state has to offer.
Come to Festivals Acadiens to see presentations of traditional and fine artists and craftspeople from across Louisiana hosted by the Louisiana Crafts Guild, a non-profit statewide organization created for professional crafts-persons. Held in Girard Park near Girard Park Lake, admission to the Craft Fair is free, making the entire festival a free event. Attendees at the Craft Fair can tour dozens of crafts booths and meet and talk with the craftspeople who will be on hand selling their wares. Crafts include wood furniture, jewelry, Houma Indian crafts, gourds, pottery, kaleidoscopes, stained glass, soaps, musical instruments, photography, pen and ink drawings and silk. Visit louisianacrafts.org for more information.
And what’s a Festival without delicious food? If you love authentic Cajun and Creole cooking, the Festivals Acadiens Bayou Food Festival is where you want to be. Try fried soft-shell crab, seafood and artichoke lasagna, barbecue boudin, crawfish fettuccine, corn and crab bisque, meat pies, catfish courtbouillion, wild game jambalaya, bread pudding and pralines. You can find all this and more as the area’s best restaurants and caterers turn out to showcase their finest specialties.
As you indulge in the cuisine, make sure to get some exercise by dancing to the live music offerings showcased by some of the finest Cajun and Creole artists. Scène Ma Louisiane (Festival Stage), the Heritage Stage, Louisiana Dance Hall, Louisiana Folk Roots Atelier, Louisiana Folk Roots Jam des Amis Tent and the Cajun and Créole Jam des Amis sessions led by accomplished musicians each provide platforms for musical concerts and jam sessions from morning ‘till night. Visit festivalsacadiens.com/music.html to view a detailed schedule.
Natchitoches Fall Pilgrimage/Tour Of Homes: Oct. 11-13
If you love history and delight in viewing beautiful historic homes then this is the tour for you. This tour began in 1954 when The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches created the Fall Pilgrimage to raise money for preservation projects. The tour continues to this day, offering history lovers the opportunity to view well-preserved plantations and town homes in the Landmark Historic District and Cane River Area, including the Melrose Plantation and the Lemee House, both owned by the non-profit, volunteer-driven APHN. The APHN provides educational opportunities to children and adults through walking tours, the Fall Tour of Homes and guided tours of Melrose Plantation.
Closed on Mondays, the hours of operation at the Melrose are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with tours beginning at 15 minutes past every hour (the first tour begins at 10:15 a.m. and the last tour begins at 4:15). A full schedule and tickets are available online at aphnatchitoches.net, or call toll-free 1-800-259-1714 or visit 781 Front Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457. Students with a school or university ID receive special discount pricing.
Harvest Moon Festival: Oct. 5
Come one, come all to the 14th Annual Harvest Moon Festival in the picturesque city of Franklin. The Festival weekend is a time for family and friends to come together for great entertainment and great food. A barbeque cook-off on Friday is a precursor to the Festival and provides a delectable highlight. Meats in the cook-off include pulled pork, chicken and sausage cooked on gas or wood smokers/cooking equipment. On Saturday attendees can feast on other tasty fare as they view the Open Car Show, with prizes awarded in categories including Best of Show, Best Engine, Best Paint, Best Interior, Longest Distance Club Participation, Special Rat Rod Categories and much more.
Festival goers are encouraged to take part in downtown shopping to support the local merchants. The Harvest Moon Festival is designed to coincide with the onset of harvest season leading into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. For more information contact Chuck Autin at 578-2559 or Joan Adams at