The old joke is that Louisiana has a festival for everything.
But it’s no joke to Friends of the Capitol Park Museum, which is staging its “Celebration of Festivals” at this year’s Night at the Capitol Park Museum.
The museum support group’s annual fundraiser Saturday will include festival dignitaries to enhance the yearly visit of historical and cultural Louisiana characters, who bring the museum’s exhibits to life. All proceeds will benefit the museum’s exhibits and educational programs.
“We’ll have the former Miss Louisiana here, and we’ll have the former Miss Merry Christmas from the Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights,” says Carolyn Morris, who’s heading up the event. “We’ll have 10 festivals from all over the state represented.”
The lineup includes the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival in Morgan City, the Festival of the Bonfires in Lutcher, Satchmo Summerfest in New Orleans, the Jambalaya Festival in Gonzales, the Baton Rouge Blues Festival, the Baton Rouge Pride Festival and the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival.
This is the seventh year for the event inspired by the 2006 Ben Stiller comedy “Night at the Museum,” where magical tablets at the tomb of Ahkmenrah brought Brooklyn’s Museum of Natural History’s exhibits to life each night.
Friends of the Capitol Park Museum supplies the magic by bringing in local actors and re-enactors, who take on the roles of exhibit characters.
The Advocate’s Smiley Anders will reprise his role as the Lucky Dog vendor, and shrimp boat captain Earl Hebert will be there to tell about the years of Gulf expeditions he took on the boat now on permanent display in the museum.
Baton Rouge actor O’Neal Isaac once again will step into the role of Homer Plessy, and Ken Dixon will portray Choctaw Chief Pushmataha, who fought for the United States in the War of 1812.
And in the midst of it, Heirloom Cuisine will offer Louisiana favorites, including some festival fare, at stations throughout the museum. There also will be complimentary wine and beer, along with a cash bar for cocktails, and a wine pull.
As in past years, visitors will be given a unique passport they can take on their journey through the exhibits. Passports that receive stamps from all of the stations will be placed in a drawing for a prize.
The ’80s cover band Werewolf will be jamming outside, while inside visitors can bid in a silent auction.
“And we’ll have televisions if LSU is playing,” Museum Director William Stark says. “We’ve done this in past years. We’ll always have access to the baseball game.”
All exhibits will be open throughout the museum.
“We encourage visitors to walk through everything in the museum,” Stark says. “It’s all a part of the event, and it’s a great way for people to get to know the museum.”