Spring festival season is officially here, and all across Louisiana, communities are celebrating their special traditions, music, folkways and food.

Area fairs and festivals are scheduled nearly every weekend from now through the end of June. On the calendar are celebrations of everything from jambalaya to boudin, frogs to kites. They range from the giant Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans to historic traditions like the Cypress Sawmill Festival in Patterson. Besides a chance to experience local culture, many serve as fundraisers for worthy causes.

But most of all, the gatherings celebrate their communities and Louisiana’s unique ways of life.

APRIL

FRIDAY-SATURDAY

  • BOGGY BAYOU FESTIVAL: La. 1172, Pine Prairie. This festival has headline entertainers, a carnival, arts and crafts, a Mass, country, gospel and French music, along with a variety of Cajun food. www.evangelinetourism.com
  • NORTH LOUISIANA SWEET POTATO FESTIVAL: 302 W. Main St., Oak Grove. The festival features a carnival, arts and crafts vendors, food and more celebrating this crop in the West Carroll Parish town. www.westcarrollchamber.com
  • SLABTOWN FESTIVAL: Mill Street, Ringgold. This festival remembers the early days of Ringgold when timber was pulled by mule and ox to the sawmill. Lumber was then cut to a standard size and the leftovers were called slabs. Events includes a parade, music, kids area, food, crafts, baseball and basketball games and a mayor’s breakfast. www.facebook.com/pages/Slabtown/444242015649422

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

  • SPRING IN THE SWAMP: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days, Barataria Preserve, 6588 Barataria Blvd., Marrero. Fun for nature lovers and families. www.nps.gove/jela
  • LAO NEW YEAR CELEBRATION: Wat Thammarattanaram Temple, 7913 Champa Ave., Broussard. A three-day festival that includes live music, a beauty pageant, parades, sand castle building, children’s activities and vendors. (337) 364-3403 or Facebook.com/pages/Wat-Thammarattanaram/189403961120455

SATURDAY

  • FRERET STREET FESTIVAL: Freret Street, between Napoleon Avenue and Robert Street, New Orleans. Three music stages, blocks of food vendors, children’s activities, pet adoptions and more are just a portion of what is on tap for this 11 a.m.-5 p.m. event sponsored by the Freret Market. www. freretstreetfestival.com

THURSDAY-SATURDAY, APRIL 9-11

  • MARKET AT THE MILL: 311 Mill St., New Roads. A three-day antique and handmade craft show at the historic cotton oil mill. www.newroads.net
  • LOUISIANA RAILROAD DAYS FESTIVAL: Railroad Museum, DeQuincy. Festival features a pageant, barbecue cook-off, rides, cannonball run, railroad “idol” contest, a canine pageant, craft and food booths, plus a gospel night and more. www.larailroaddaysfestival.com
  • LOUISIANA FARM FESTIVAL: Moreauville. Festival features a beauty pageant, parade, food, and arts and crafts vendors from around the state, entertainment, rides and games. www.moreauvillepolice.com
  • FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL: Eighteen stages throughout the Quarter present the New Orleans music, food and beverage booths and make up the World’s Largest Jazz Brunch.

FRIDAY, APRIL 10

  • ART IN APRIL: Downtown Hammond. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., stroll through historic streets for this annual art event where more than two dozen artists exhibit a variety of artistic endeavors, plus live entertainment and more. www.dddhammond.com

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 10-12

  • INDY GRAND PRIX OF LOUISIANA: NOLA Motorsports Park, 11075 Nicolle Blvd., Avondale. This three-day weekend festival will attract partygoers from all over the world to witness this first-time event. The newly designed facility will feature a 2.74-mile track with 13 turns that incorporate passing zones suitable for the Verizon IndyCar Series and Mazda Road to Indy Series. This event promises to offer outstanding racing, local New Orleans flair and family-friendly activities. www.gpofnola.com
  • PONCHATOULA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL: Memorial Park, 300 N. Sixth St., Ponchatoula. This festival offers more than 60 nonprofit organizations cooking Louisiana cuisine. Continuous entertainment runs on two stages; a Saturday morning parade rolls downtown. Contests include strawberry eating, an egg toss and sack races. www.lastrawberryfestival.com
  • PATTERSON CYPRESS SAWMILL FESTIVAL: Kemper Williams Park, Cotton Road, Patterson. This event features rides and games, arts and crafts, Louisiana cuisine, entertainment, a poker run, fireworks show, classic car and lumberjack shows, golf and softball tournaments and tours of the Louisiana State Museum. www.cypresssawmillcom
  • SCOTT BOUDIN FESTIVAL: Lions Club Street, Scott. This festival includes food, music, rides, pageants and events in the heart of Cajun country near Lafayette. www.scottboudinfestival.com
  • CAJUN HOT SAUCE FESTIVAL: Sugarena Acadiana Fairgrounds, New Iberia. Pageants, talent contests, live entertainment and hot sauce contests headline this festival. www.sugarena.com/chsf.htm
  • BATTLE OF PLEASANT HILL: 23271 La. 175, Pelican. Re-enactors from across the United States participate in the Civil War battle event. The Soldiers’ Ball is open to everyone, but period attire must be worn. www.battleofplesanthill.com
  • ORIGINAL DOWNTOWN LAKE CHARLES CRAWFISH FESTIVAL: Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles. Music, food, fun and crawfish prepared every way possible. www.downtowncrawfishfest.com

FRIDAY-SATURDAY, APRIL 10-11

  • PARKS CRACKLIN’ COOK-OFF: Cecile Rousseau Poché Memorial Park, Melancon Street, Parks. A cracklin’ cooking competition, other delicacies, entertainment, a poker run and more at this festival near Breaux Bridge. www.parkscracklincookoff.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 11

  • BATON ROUGE BLUES FESTIVAL: Repentance Park and Galvez Plaza, downtown Baton Rouge. From 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. the Capital City celebrates its blues heritage with music and food that will be anything but blues-inducing. www.batonrougebluesfestival.org
  • SPRING FOR ART: 320 N. Columbia St., Covington. Gallery openings, demonstrations, shopping and dining from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. highlight this art event. www.sttammanyartassociation.org
  • FRANKLIN PARISH CATFISH FESTIVAL: Downtown Winnsboro. More than 300 vendor booths, gospel, rock and country music stages, a children’s play area, petting zoo and a half-block food court serving fried pond-raised catfish at this north Louisiana event. www.franklinparishcatfishfestival.com

SATURDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 11-12

  • KITE FEST LOUISIANÉ: 3853 Rosedale Road, Port Allen. Highlights include professional flying expo and unique kites, a kite-making competition, kite-flying lessons and a children’s kite workshop. www.westbatonrouge.net
  • NEW ORLEANS SPRING GARDEN SHOW: New Orleans Botanical Gardens, City Park, 3 Victory Ave., New Orleans. A festival of green and growing comes alive at this annual event, with demonstrations, activities and plants for sale, plus food vendors. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. $8, adults; $4, kids 5-12; free, Friends of City Park. www.neworleanscitypark.com

THURSDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 16-19

  • WASHINGTON CATFISH FESTIVAL: Washington Festival Grounds, 143 Veterans Memorial Highway, Washington. Music, native crafts, exhibits, parades antiques, arts and crafts and food are celebrated at this festival. www.townofwashingtonla.com

FRIDAY-SATURDAY, APRIL 17-18

  • NATCHITOCHES JAZZ/R&B FESTIVAL: Cane River banks, downtown Natchitoches. Music festival with headlines .38 Special, Mitch Ryer and Hoe Molland’s Badfinger. $20, weekend pass. www.natchjazzfest.com

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 17-19

  • BAYOU TECHE BLACK BEAR FESTIVAL AND WOODEN BOAT FESTIVAL: Downtown Franklin. Running of the Bears 5K Run/Walker, boat trips, arts and crafts, food, more. The second festival will have antique and modern wooden boats on display.
  • WESTLAKE FAMILY FUN & FOOD FESTIVAL: St. John Bosco Catholic Community, 1301 Sampson St., Westlake. Games and activities for people of all ages, plus a petting zoo, as well as bingo and auctions. www.stjohnboscochurch.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 18

  • REEVES HERITAGE FESTIVAL: Downtown Reeves. This festival features cross-cut saw contest, husband calling contest, blind-fold wheel-barrow race, car show and lawn mower pull. Family oriented, alcohol-free event with food and music at this Allen Parish event.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 18-19

  • SPRING 2015 ANGOLA RODEO: Louisiana State Penitentiary, 10000 Tunica Trace, Tunica. Rodeo events, food, music and inmate hobbycraft items for sale are the hallmarks of this spring version of the world-famous prison rodeo. $15 admission. www.angolarodeo.com
  • LES BON VIEUX TEMPS SUR LE CHENAL: Highway 414, Jarreau. The annual Immaculate Conception Church Fair offers food, live music, carnival rides and bingo. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
  • MELROSE ARTS AND CRAFTS FESTIVAL: Melrose Plantation, 3533 La. 119, Melrose. Fine arts and crafts sold on the grounds of the historic home, with food vendors and home tours, 18 miles south of Natchitoches. $5. www.melroseplantation.org

SUNDAY, APRIL 19

  • LOUISIANA EARTH DAY: Downtown Baton Rouge. Exhibits, hands-on activities for children and adults, music and food. Performers include Colin Lake, Marcia Ball and Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie. Noon-6 p.m. Free. http:Text ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/SolidText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/SolidText ColorText ColorText ColorText Color//www.laearthday.org/

WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 22-26

  • FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DE LOUISIANE: Downtown Lafayette, with shuttles from Cajun Field, 2351 W. Congress St. Expansive festival with music, food, a fine arts market, a world market, workshops, theater and other performing arts. www.festivalinternational.org

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 24-26

  • THE ITALIAN FESTIVAL: 500081 U.S. 51, Tickfaw. Three days of entertainment, rides, parades, pageants and cuisine celebrate the rich heritage of the area. www.theitalianfestivalorg.com
  • ETOUFFEE FESTIVAL: St. John Francis Regis Church Grounds, 370 Main St., Arnaudville. This festival includes a mayor’s cooking competition, a variety of etouffees and other foods, music, rides and arts and crafts. www.johnfrancisregis.net
  • ST. JOAN OF ARC’S FAIR DEAUX DEAUX: 529 West Fifth St., LaPlace. Sample food dishes from vendors around the area, plus rides and games for kids of all ages. Plan to take part in the Fun Run/Walk on Saturday.

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, THURSDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 24-26, 30-MAY 3

  • NEW ORLEANS JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL: Fair Grounds Race Course, 1751 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans. Mega-music festival with food, crafts, demonstrations and a lineup of glittering talent at stages and tents throughout the grounds. $70, at the gate; $58, in advance; $5, children 2-10. www.nojazzfest.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 25

  • ALLEN PARISH CANOE FESTIVAL: Allen Parish Fairgrounds, Oberlin. The festival features carnival rides, games, food vendors, entertainment and much more. All proceeds go toward scholarships for Allen Parish students. www.thecanoefestival.com

SATURDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 28-MAY 10

  • CONTRABAND DAYS: Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles. Celebrating Jean Lafitte and his hidden treasures in southwest Louisiana, the events are held at and around the Lake Charles Civic Center and include crawfish races, Cajun Days, boat races and pirates capturing the city of Lake Charles. www.contrabanddays.com

WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 29-MAY 3

  • ZFEST — ZACHARY ARTS & MUSIC FESTIVAL: BREC Zachary Community Park, 20101 Old Scenic Highway (U.S. 964), Zachary. The ninth annual event will be a weekend full of activities for art and music lovers. Food and fun will be in abundance. www.zfest.us

THURSDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 30-MAY 3

  • THIBODAUX FIREMEN’S FAIR AND PARADE: 1101 Tiger Drive, Thibodaux. Proceeds from this festival benefit the volunteer fire department. Music, food, auctions, a run/walk and parade are highlights of this festival. www.thibodauxfiredept.org/firemens-fair

MAY

FRIDAY-SATURDAY, MAY 1-2

  • MAYFEST: Downtown Leesville. The two-day event offers live music, demonstrating artists and children’s activities, plus food, a gospel tent and pancake breakfast. www.venturevernon.com

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 1-3

  • BREAUX BRIDGE CRAWFISH FESTIVAL: Parc Hardy, 2090 Rees St., Breaux Bridge. The Crawfish Capitol of the World’s festival has crawfish-based dishes, crawfish races, crawfish-eating contest, a crawfish etouffee cook-off and Cajun and zydeco dance contest, as well as arts and crafts booths and carnival rides. www.bbcrawfest.com
  • LITTLE RED CHURCH FOOD AND FUN FESTIVAL: St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 13396 River Road, Destrehan. The festival features bands, dance performances, pageants, paint ball, karate exhibitions, carnival rides and Louisiana cuisine. www.scblittleredchurch.org
  • OLPS TOMATO FESTIVAL: Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church, 2320 Paris Road, Chalmette. Enjoy grilled and raw oysters on the half-shell, jambalaya, shrimp pasta, and Tomato-a-la-Chalmette while listening to live entertainment. Other events include a pageant and baby contest. www.olpsschool.org

SATURDAY, MAY 2

  • LOUISIANA DRAGON BOAT RACES: Red River, downtown Alexandria. Sponsored by the Alexandria Museum of Art, the races are part of a festival that includes music, art, food and activities. www.themuseum.org/ldbr
  • HERB AND GARDEN FESTIVAL: Marie Street, Sunset. The festival offers more than 75 vendors selling fresh herbs, herbal products, yard art, and native plants and flowers. Guest speakers and book signings are also slated. www.sunsetherbfestival.com
  • ST. FRANCISVILLE/JACKSON SPRING GARDEN STROLL: St. Francisville Town Hall or Centenary Inn in Jackson. This fundraiser offers tours of homes in Feliciana Parish. www.st.francisvillescpringstroll.org

WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY, MAY 6-9

  • RAYNE FROG FESTIVAL: Gossen Memorial Park, Rayne. Signature events like frog racing and jumping and the selection of the Frog Derby Queen are accented by carnival rides, live entertainment, and an arts and crafts show. www.raynefrogfestival.com

FRIDAY-SATURDAY, MAY 8-9

  • ZWOLLE LOGGERS & FORESTRY FESTIVAL: Zwolle Festival Grounds, South Main Street, Zwolle. The festival was started to celebrate the community’s logging history. There are arts and crafts, food, rides, music and the famous “mudbog.” www.zwolleloggersandforestryfestival.com

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 8-10

  • BAYOU CAJUN FEST: Larose Civic Center, Larose. Come out for the pirogue races; stay for the music, food, dancing and sports tournaments. The festival promotes cultural, educational, and leisure activities. www.bayoucivicclub.org

SATURDAY, MAY 9

  • CRAWFISH MAMBO: UNO Sandbar and The Cove, Founders Road, 2000 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans. A cooking contest and all-you-can-eat benefit staged by the UNO International Alumni Association, with music and more. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. $20. www.crawfishmambo.com

THURSDAY-SATURDAY, MAY 14-16

  • STARKS MAYHAW FESTIVAL: La. 12 and La. 109, Starks. Arts and crafts, food, carnival rides, and gospel and country-western music are featured attractions at this festival. www.mayhawfest.com

THURSDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 14-17

  • PLAQUEMINES PARISH SEAFOOD AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL: F. Edward Hebert Boulevard, Belle Chasse. Visitors enjoy local seafood and other local food specialties plus live music, local artists and craftsmen, carnival rides and helicopter rides over an historic battlefield. www.plaqueminesparishfestival.com

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 15-17

  • MID-CITY BAYOU BOOGALOO: 500 N. Jefferson Davis Parkway, New Orleans. Music, food, an arts market against the backdrop of Bayou St. John — a rising festival in the local calendar. www.thebayouboogaloo.com

SATURDAY, MAY 16

  • LOUISIANA VETERANS’ FESTIVAL: Northshore Harbor Center, 100 Harbor Center Blvd., Slidell. A day of tribute and honor for all Louisiana veterans, activities include a tribute, car show, amusement rides, entertainment, arts and crafts, Louisiana cuisine, drinks and more surprises. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. $8; $5, veterans. www.laveteransfestival.com

WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY, MAY 20-23

  • NEW ORLEANS WINE AND FOOD EXPERIENCE: various locations, New Orleans. From vinter dinners to wine strolls, seminars to grand tastings, this gourmand’s paradise is a four-day event packed with the flavors of the city. www.nowfe.com

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 22-24

  • GREEK FESTIVAL: Holy Trinity Cathedral, 1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd., New Orleans. Opa! The rich heritage of Greeks in New Orleans comes alive in food, music, dance and more at this popular event. $5 admission. www.greekfestnola.com
  • KROTZ SPRINGS SPORTSMEN’S HERITAGE FESTIVAL: 548 Haas St., Krotz Springs. This festival includes rides, food, music, crafts, pageants, fishing tournament, cook-off and skeet shooting competition. It is also known for the Blessing of the Hunter. www.kssportsmensheritagefestival.com

SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 23-24

  • BAYOU COUNTRY SUPERFEST: Tiger Stadium, LSU, Baton Rouge. Two days of performances by national music stars, including Kenny Chesney and Blake Shelton. Fan Fest, tailgating. bayoucountrysuperfest.com

SUNDAY, MAY 24

  • AMERICAN LEGION RIDERS FREEDOM FEST: Lake End Parkway, Morgan City. Featuring the 13th annual Freedom Ride, car show, children’s activities, food, live music.

MONDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 25-31

  • BIRDFOOT FESTIVAL: Various locations, New Orleans. Seven days of live chamber music, parties, dinners, mentoring programs and more. www.birdfootfestival.org

THURSDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 28-31

  • GONZALES JAMBALAYA FESTIVAL: Irma Boulevard, Gonzales. The festival features World Champion Jambalaya served daily, live music and entertainment, carnival rides, cooking contests, a variety of food and so much fun it takes four days to get it all in. www.jambalayafestival.org

SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 30-31

  • THE NEW ORLEANS OYSTER FESTIVAL: Woldenberg Park, 1 Canal St., New Orleans. The bivalve gets the star treatment at this festival, being showcased in a stellar mélange of dishes and as the backdrop for some rocking good music. www.neworleansoysterfestival.org

JUNE

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JUNE 5-7

  • BUGGY FESTIVAL OF CHURCH POINT: City Park, 100 E. Darbonne St., Church Point. This festival that salutes the buggy of yesteryear features food, crafts, buggy displays and a grand parade. www.acadiatourism.org
  • GHEENS BON MANGÉ FESTIVAL: Vacherie-Gheens Community Center, Gheens. This festival offers Cajun dishes and sweets, live entertainment, children’s rides, a truck, car and bike show and a live auction. www.gheensbonmange.webs.com

SATURDAY-SUNDAY, JUNE 6-7

  • LOUISIANA CAJUN-ZYDECO FESTIVAL: Louis Armstrong Park, 701 N. Rampart St., New Orleans. Traditional and modern performers of Cajun and zydeco music, as well as crafts, seafood and arts. www.jassandheritage.org/Cajun-zydeco

SUNDAY, JUNE 7

  • GREATER NEW ORLEANS FLORAL TRAIL: Jackson Square, New Orleans. “The Festival of Flowers” crowns a queen with her court, then parades through the French Quarter by carriage to the coronation ball at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. www.facebook.com/floraltrail

THURSDAY-SATURDAY, JUNE 11-13

  • LOUISIANA CORN FESTIVAL: Lake Street, Bunkie. Rides, food, music, sports tournaments, pageants, parades and cooking competitions are part of this festival. www.bunkiechamber.net/cornfestival

THURSDAY-SUNDAY, JUNE 11-14

  • FESTIGALS 2015: Locations vary. New Orleans’ original women’s getaway weekend celebration for “ordinary women, extraordinary journeys.” Events, seminars and a Bodacious Bras for a Cause luncheon and auction are on the slate for this gathering. Package price, $395. www.festigals.org

FRIDAY-SATURDAY, JUNE 12-13

  • LAKE ARTHUR REGATTA: Downtown Lake Arthur. Held along the water in Lake Arthur the event provides top-rated musical entertainment, Cajun dishes, swimming and boating activities. www.lakearthurfestivals.com

SATURDAY-SUNDAY, JUNE 13-14

  • CREOLE TOMATO FESTIVAL: French Market District, from Dumaine and Decatur Streets to Barracks Street, French Quarter, New Orleans. Music, food, activities and a celebration of the Creole tomato are accented with cooking demonstrations and culinary discussions. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. www.frenchmarket.org
  • COQUILLE PARK JUNEFEST: Coquille Park and Recreation Center, Covington. Indoor arts and crafts festival. www.steinhaurerproductions.com

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JUNE 19-21

  • SNAKE OIL FESTIVAL: Howlin’ Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., New Orleans. Performances ranging from sideshow to burlesque, music to comedy. www.snakeoilfestival.com
  • LOUISIANA CATFISH FESTIVAL: St. Gertrude Catholic Church, 17324 La. 631, Des Allemands. Food, music, arts and crafts, rides and a 5K and 1-mile fun run are on tap for this locally popular festival. www.louisianacatfishfestival.com

THURSDAY-SATURDAY, JUNE 25-27

  • BEAUREGARD WATERMELON FESTIVAL: Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds, DeRidder. Live entertainment, food, pageants, children’s activities and watermelons are the hallmarks of this west Louisiana festival. www.beauregardwatermelonfestival.com

FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JUNE 26-28

  • CRABFEST LACOMBE: John Davis Park, Lacombe. This “under the oaks” event has music, arts and crafts and lots of food, including the venerable crustacean. www.crabfestlacombe.com

SATURDAY-SUNDAY, JUNE 27-28

  • LE FESTIVAL DE LA VIANDE BOUCANÉE DE LA LOUISIANE: Ville Platte. This festival showcases local smoked meats including sausage, tasso, pounce bourée, deer, pig, rabbit and fish. Music runs all three days, and arts and crafts booths and beauty pageants are slated. www.smokedmeatfestival.com

If your fair or festival isn’t listed here, please email the information to red@theadvocate.com. Red will publish a weekly calendar of these events throughout the season.