[StBernard] Spring festival preview

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Wed Mar 18 15:59:07 EDT 2009

Spring festival preview
Students discover La. culture, cuisine through festival experiences

By Charles Nunmaker

Every time spring comes around in Louisiana, it means something good is
about to come for everyone. Spring for some just means that we now get
longer periods of sunlight and lose an hour of sleep, but the coming of
spring also means the coming of Louisiana’s spring festivals with plenty of
good food and music to go around.

Louisiana is pretty well known for its festivals, seafood and agricultural
produce – namely tomatoes, strawberries and sugar cane. Out of all the
seafood and produce that is available in the spring, however, the most
famous and popular of the state’s products is, of course, Louisiana

And what better way to celebrate the coming of boiled crawfish season than
with a festival? Louisiana, in fact, has two separate crawfish festivals
that serve hundreds of pounds of crawfish in many different ways and feature
great entertainment.

The Louisiana Crawfish Festival comes up first out of the two. The Louisiana
Crawfish Festival originally started in 1975 and has since grown to become a
bigger and better Louisiana tradition.

The festival, which will be held March 26-29 at the Frederick J. Sigur Civic
Center in Chalmette, is full of many different crawfish dishes such as
crawfish pasta, crawfish jambalaya and gumbo, and even crawfish pizza.

The festival also features a good lineup of musicians for a weekend of fun,
including The Wise Guys, Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys, and Irma Thomas and
the Professionals. Along with the good food and music, the festival has
various craft booths set up to sell many different handcrafted products and
also features a variety of carnival rides.

The second crawfish festival is the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, which
will be held May 1-3. The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival dates back to
1960, making this its 49th year that the festival serves up thousands of
pounds of crawfish in a variety of traditional Louisiana crawfish dishes. It
has been one of Louisiana’s biggest food festivals and was even named the
No. 1 Food Party in a 2007 article in Maxim Magazine.

The festival includes many different contests and events such as a crawfish
race, Cajun and Zyedco dance contests, a crawfish etouffée cook off, a
crawfish eating contest, and a parade. The Breaux Bridge Crawfish festival
also has a good variety of Cajun and Zydeco music lined up, including Corey
Ledet, Ray Abshire, Pine Leaf Boys, Hunter Hayes and many more.

The Breaux Bridge Crawfish festival will be held at Parc Hardy on Rees
Street in Breaux Bridge and is sure to offer some good fun and entertainment
for all who attend.

Crawfish are a Louisiana tradition that will never go away, but another
Louisiana favorite that is often served with crawfish is beer. Consequently,
the Zapp’s International Beerfest is the perfect opportunity for people to
enjoy a large variety of different beers, including Abita beer, which is
another Louisiana tradition.

Zapp’s International Beerfest will be held on March 28 from 3:30 until 6:00
p.m. The festival features many different types of regular beers, such as
Budweiser, Miller and Abita and also features beer from local microbreweries
and brewing clubs, such as the Red Stick Brewing Club.

The festival also has The Bayou Boys set up to provide entertainment for the
event. Zapp’s International Beerfest will be held at the LSU Rural Life
Museum, and tickets are only $25. However, you must be 21 years old to
attend the festival.

Louisiana food is widely known throughout the country to be some of the best
food offered in the world. Louisiana is in the prime spot geographically to
grow just about any type of agricultural produce, but some of Louisiana’s
most celebrated foods are its tomatoes and strawberries.

The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival is the perfect event to enjoy some of
the best of Louisiana’s produce. The festival, which runs April 3-5 at
Ponchatoula Memorial Park, offers some of the best strawberry dishes,
including chocolate covered strawberries and fried strawberries as well as
traditional Louisiana dishes such as crawfish fettuccine.

The festival also features a great entertainment lineup, including the Molly
Ringwalds, the Top Cats, Bag of Donuts, Brandon Bennett, Chase Tyler, Soul
Vaxxination and Mojeaux.

The festival aims to help the local community by allowing organizations,
including non-profit organizations, to make a profit through working the
various food booths. The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival is also asking
people to bring in a canned good, which will be donated via the Boy Scouts
to the local food banks.

“The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival is probably the festival that I go to
the most,” said LSU freshmen Kalli Obermeyer. “My favorite part about it is
the chocolate covered strawberries that seem to be everywhere, and all
together it’s a fun festival that I love to go to with my family.”

Tomatoes are also a popular Louisiana produce, and the Tomato Festival, held
May 1-3 at Our Lady Of Prompt Succor School in Chalmette, is one way to
celebrate the tomato and other Louisiana produce.

This year, the Tomato Festival is celebrating its 58th year. The festival
features a wide arrangement of food booths that sell different tomato
dishes, such as Tomato-a-la-Chalmette (fried green tomatoes and secret
sauce) as well as some of Louisiana’s best seafood dishes.

The festival also features some interesting events such as the Tomato Queen
Contest and a Tomato Baby contest and will also have some great bands,
including the Chee-Weez, the Top Cats, Zebra, Harvey Jesus, LA Spice, and At
Fault. There will also be amusement rides at the festival. The overall
admission is free, making this a delicious and fun festival to attend.

During the spring, the food and produce festivals are large and grow in
number every year. Each one has something unique and special that provides
for a great source of entertainment and fun for people of all ages. However,
Louisiana also likes to celebrate its music and culture during the
springtime with a large array of festivals that attract people from all
around the country.

The French Quarter Festival in New Orleans is one that celebrates the
history of New Orleans’s French Quarter as well as the city’s culture and

The Festival, which runs from April 16-19 in various parts of the French
Quarter, is in its 26th year and grows ever larger as it holds the title of
the largest free music festival in the South.

With an attendance of more than 435,000 people last year, the festival has
decided to grow and spread out its stages in 2009. One of these new stages
includes the Louis-Louis Pavilion Stage that will feature performances
paying tribute to Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima. The French Quarter
Festival also features a great variety of performing musicians, including
The Radiators, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Irvin Mayfield, Bonerama,
Zydepunks, Soul Rebels and many more.

Freshmen mass communication and French major Rémi Pastorek is one of many
people who enjoy the French Quarter Festival every year.

“Well it’s free, but there is some sort of great ambiance to the Festival.
Everyone is out there to have a good time in such a beautiful place,” said

New Orleans also features another music festival that draws in a large
amount of people every year: The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Jazz Fest, as it has become known, draws in an average crowd of more than
400,000 people a year due to its excellent food selection and its great

This year, Jazz Fest will be held on April 24-26 and April 30-May 3 at the
Louisiana Fair Grounds. The lineup this year includes big name acts like
Irma Thomas, The Nevel Brothers, Wynton Marsalis, James Taylor, Bonnie
Raitt, Sugarland, Ben Harper and The Relentless 7, The Dave Mathews Band,
Wilco, Kings of Leon and many more.

This year marks the 40th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest.

Sophomore biology major Brandon Brousse knows all about Jazz Fest and is
personally excited to go this year.

“It’s a fun atmosphere with good music at pretty much any stage you go to,
and the food is really good too,” said Brousse. “Everyone needs to go to
Jazz Fest at least once in their life.”

Baton Rouge also features some music, culture, and entertainment festivals,
which are taking a very special form this spring. There are two festivals
that Baton Rouge hosts every spring: Baton Rouge Blues Week, which includes
the Baton Rouge Blues Festival, and the Red Stick Animation Festival, which
runs April 22-25.

The festivals overlap in their dates, so this year both festivals are
joining forces to supply collaborative events that are unique.

Over the past 13 years, Baton Rouge Blues week has supplied people with a
wide variety of good blues music while also allowing tourists to try out the
delicious foods of Louisiana and to experience the state’s overall culture.
Baton Rouge Blues Week is in its 14th year running, and this year, sports a
lineup consisting of Tab Benoit, Chris Thomas King, Bobby “Blue” Bland,
Percy Sledge, Charlie Musselwhite and Bonie Bramlett.

Baton Rouge Blues Week is April 18-26 at various locations throughout
downtown Baton Rouge with the Baton Rouge Blues Festival on Saturday, April

The Red Stick Animation Festival is celebrating its fifth anniversary this
year with some special events as well as its regular events. Every year the
festival has drawn animation professionals and students from all over the
country down to Baton Rouge to learn specific techniques and special arts of
animation. The festival, which takes place in various downtown Baton Rouge
locations, features events, including the Princess Ball, which is a dance;
Cartoon-a-Palooza, which is a Saturday morning cartoon and breakfast event;
and the Pitch! Contest, where people submit an idea for an animated show and
can then work with professional animators to see their idea come to life and
also be reviewed by a panel of industry experts.

Both festivals this year are collaborating together to supply a new
experience for those stretched between both events. One special
collaborative event occurs on Friday, April 24, where animation specialist
J. Walt will put on a live animation show set to Blues music from the Elvin
Killerbee Band at the Manship Theatre.

On Saturday, April 25, both events come together again for a special showing
of the movie “Sita Sings the Blues,” which is about an Indian girl. The
movie is also set to Southern American blues music. Both of these
collaborative events are free to attend making these two special events that
cannot be missed.

Louisiana is a special place that loves to celebrate its culture, music, and
food. Throughout the year, these festivals and others just like them feature
different foods, animals, music, and people that add to the spirit of
Louisiana felt by the people who live here and visit at every time possible.

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