It doesn’t take much longer than five minutes in Louisiana before someone spouts, “Laissez les bon temps rouler,” especially in the spring.
With Carnival a memory and a big gulp of the St. Patrick’s Day festivities out of the way, Bayou State denizens turn their thoughts to crawfish, catfish, cracklins, cochon de lait, tomatoes, boudin, bivalves and enough music to fill ... well, to fill a state.
Indeed, we know how to let the good times roll.
But in Louisiana, festivals are not just a celebration of cuisine and toe-tapping rhythms. The history, folkways and reasons why these events are important are memorialized and institutionalized.
Local fairs and festivals are scheduled nearly every day from now through the Fourth of July. 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.
Thursday-Saturday, March 17-19
T-BOIS BLUES FESTIVAL: 900 Hamilton St., Larose. Camping and music festival with the Thursday evening opener and all-day weekend events, including airboat rides. tboisbluesfestival.com.
Friday-Saturday, March 18-19
IOWA RABBIT FESTIVAL: Burton Coliseum Complex, 7001 Gulf Hwy., Lake Charles. Carnival rides, food, music, rabbit a cook-off and more are on tap for this southwest Louisiana festival in its 30th year. iowarabbitfestival.org.
Friday-Sunday, March 18-20
AMITE OYSTER DAYS: Downtown Amite. “Oysters in Wonderland” will the theme for this Tangipahoa Parish festival celebrating the bivalve with food, music, rides and more. amiteoysterfestival.org.
AUDUBON PILGRIMAGE: St. Francisville. Tours of historic buildings, costumed reenactments, theater about John James Audubon’s stay in the area and graveyard tours are only part of this 45th annual event in the English plantation country of the state. westfelicianahistoricalsociety.org/audubon-pilgrimage.html.
FESTIVAL BONFOUCA: Heritage Park, 1701 Bayou Lane, Slidell. This inaugural festival features a stellar music lineup, including Big Freedia, Marcia Ball, Sonny Landreth and Cyril Neville’s Royal Southern Brotherhood. Plus food, an art market, family village and recreational activities. $5 and up. festivalbonfouca.com.
LIMMUDFEST: Congregation Gates of Prayer, 4000 W. Esplanade Ave S., Metairie; Lavin-Bernick Center, Tulane University, 6823 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans. Weekend festival of Big Tent Jewish learning, arts, culture and spirituality with more than 90 sessions, children’s programming $35 and up. limmudnola.org.
LOUISIANA NURSERY FESTIVAL: 4300 La. 112, Forest Hill. Vendors with garden supplies and plants, plus arts and crafts and Carnival rides join a festival of Louisiana fair food at this event. louisiananurseryfestival.com
Saturday, March 19
ACADIAN MEMORIAL FESTIVAL AND WOODEN BOAT CONGRÈS: Acadiana Memorial, 121 S. New Market St., St. Martinville. Cajun culture is celebrated in re-enactments of the Acadians’ arrival, cooking, dance, music, conversation and a parade of watercraft. acadianmemorial.org.
Acadiana Pride Festival: Lafayette. Celebration of diversity and LGBT pride, featuring events through the Hub City. acadianapride.weebly.com.
AUDUBON ZOO EARTH FEST: 6500 Magazine St., New Orleans. Exhibitors involved with environmental issues help answer questions for prices on Earth Quest game. Food and crafts available for purchase. Included with admission. audubonnatureinstitute.org/earth-fest.
BLOOMIN’ ON THE BRICKS: Historic Landmark District, Natchitoches. Lawn and garden vendors, from flowers to furniture, ironwork to art, display along the Cane River city. downtownnatchitoches.com.
CHILDREN’S WORLD’S FAIR: Louisiana Children’s Museum, 420 Julia St., New Orleans. Museum celebrates cultures of Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Scotland, Senegal, Tanzania and Vietnam in daylong “trek” for children. lcm.org.
FÊTE FRANÇAISE: Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans, 812 Gen. Pershing St., New Orleans. Annual festival of French with food, music, art and culture. fetefrancaise.com.
New Orleans international beer festival: Champions Square, 1500 Sugar Bowl Drive, New Orleans. Showcasing two-ounce unlimited sampling of the craft beers from around the world with food, cider garden, seminars, beer garden for “cask” beer, music and games. $20 and up. neworleansinternationalbeerfest.com.
SOUTHDOWN MARKETPLACE ARTS AND CRAFTS FESTIVAL: Southdown Plantation, 1208 Museum Drive, Houma. This event features more than 300 local and national vendors with handmade products including jewelry, clothing, woodcrafts, original art, garden items, seasonal products, Cajun Cuisine food favorites such as jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and corn soup. Tours of Southdown will also be available. $5. southdownmuseum.org/marketplace.
UNITED WAY ANNUAL PLAQUEMINES PARISH JAMBALAYA COOK-OFF: YMCA Belle Chasse, 8101 La. 23, Belle Chasse. Teams compete for honors, with attendees voting for honors. plaqueminestourism.com/ymcajc16.pdf
Saturday-Sunday March 19-20
CONGO SQUARE RHYTHMS FESTIVAL: Armstrong Park, 701 N. Rampart St., New Orleans. Music and culture of African diaspora are celebrated at this festival that includes Mardi Gras Indians, a high school band contest, a drumming workshop for kids, Bamboula 2000, an arts market and food. jazzandheritage.org/congo-square.
Sunday, March 20
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CRAWFISH ETOUFFEE COOK-OFF: Northwest Community Center, Eunice. Teams of cooks, from amateur home chefs to culinary professionals, vie for honors in this event that reward cooking as well as event-space decorating, plus music, arts and crafts and more events. facebook.com/crawfish.etoufee.
Friday-Saturday, March 25-26
HAMMOND SMOKIN’ BBQ CHALLENGE: Downtown Hammond. More than 50 Kansas City barbecue teams will compete for the headline event, but there will be many contests, live entertainment, pairing events and more. hammondbbq.com.
Wednesday-Sunday, March 30-April 3
TENNESSEE WILLIAMS NEW ORLEANS LITERARY FESTIVAL: Various locations throughout New Orleans. The 30th annual celebration of arts and letters returns to the city Tennessee loved, with writing contests, seminars, dinners, gatherings and live theatrical productions throughout the region. tennesseewilliams.net.
Thursday-Saturday, March 31-April 2
BOGGY BAYOU FESTIVAL: La. 1172, Heritage Road, Pine Prairie. This Evangeline Parish festival offers music, carnival rides, arts and crafts and an assortment of authentic Cajun food.
Thursday-Sunday, March 31-April 3
LOUISIANA CRAWFISH FESTIVAL: Sigur Center, 8245 W. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette. Louisiana crawfish dishes, live entertainment, rides and arts crafts are all offered at the Louisiana Crawfish Festival. $5 admission. louisianacrawfishfestival.com.
Friday-Saturday, April 1-2
HOGS FOR THE CAUSE: Festival Grounds, City Park, 1701 Wisner Blvd., New Orleans. Two days of barbecue competition, entertainment and a celebration of the wonders of pork — all to benefit pediatric brain cancer patients. $25 and up admission. hogsforthecause.org.
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. westcarrollchamber.com.
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. parkscracklincookoff.com.
Friday-Sunday, April 1-3
FESTA ITALIANA: Italian Heritage Festival: Rivertown, Williams Boulevard at the Mississippi River, Kenner. Three days of celebrating the Italian contributions to the Jefferson Parish city, including live performances, food, activities for kids and more. $5. italianheritagefestival.com.
Jackson Assembly Antiques and Art Show: Downtown Jackson. Antiques and collectibles dealers from seven states including furniture, lighting, antique maps, tools, rare books, china, silver and more. Tours include the 1840 Masonic Lodge building, the massive Center Building at East Louisiana Hospital, Brown Cottage and the historic old Jackson Cemetery. $10. jacksonassemblyantiqueshow.com.
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. westbatonrouge.net.
PATTERSON CYPRESS SAWMILL FESTIVAL: Kemper Williams Park, Cotten 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. cypresssawmillcom.
Scott Boudin Festival: Lions Club Street, Scott. This festival features food, music, rides, pageants and events in the heart of Cajun country near Lafayette. www.scottboudinfestival.com.
Saturday, April 2
ERATH FIREFIGHTER’S CHILI COOK-OFF AND FAMILY FUN DAY: QSA RV Park, Erath. The volunteer fire department will have live music, a chili cook-off, live and silent auction, fun jumps and camper parking. facebook.com/ErathVolFireDept.
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 local event sponsored by the Freret Market from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. freretstreetfestival.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 was 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.
SOUTH LOUISIANA CRAWFISH BOILING CONTEST: Lamar Dixon Expo Center, Gonzales. Boiling and eating contests are just part of the fun, including arts and crafts, pageants, contests, food and music to raise funds for Dreams Come True of Louisiana. 9039 S. St. Landry Ave., Gonzales. lamardixonexpocenter.com/events.
Saturday-Sunday, April 2-3
FESTFORALL: Downtown, North Boulevard from 5th Street to the North Boulevard Town Square, Baton Rouge. Free festival celebrating arts in the Capitol City with food, arts, music, theater, vendors and more. artsbr.org.
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 for Friends of City Park. neworleanscitypark.com.
NOLA FOODFEST: Spanish Plaza, Riverwalk, Poydras Street at the Mississippi River, New Orleans. Festival of food vendors from throughout the Gulf Coast celebrate the cuisine of the Crescent City and the entire country. nolafoodfest.com.
Sunday, April 3
BRUNCH FEST NOLA: City Park, New Orleans. Food, music, even a bloody Mary contest are on tap for this first-ever salute to the midday meal, with funds benefiting the Louisiana SPCA. Kids and pets are welcome, as is festive attire. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. la-spac.org/brunchfest.
Wednesday-Sunday, April 6-10
A TASTE OF COVINGTON: Various locations in Covington. Celebration of food and wine, with music, vintner’s dinners, a grand tasting, art shows and a champagne jazz brunch. Tickets vary per event. atasteofcovington.com.
Thursday-Saturday, April 7-9
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. larailroadaysfestival.com.
Thursday-Sunday, April 7-10
FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL: Various locations throughout the Vieux Carre. Eighteen stages throughout the Quarter presents the New Orleans music, food and beverage booths and make up the World’s Largest Jazz Brunch. fqfi.org.
Friday-Sunday, April 8-10
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. battleofplesanthill.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.
MARKET AT THE MILL: 311 Mill St., New Roads. A three-day antique and handmade craft show at the historic cotton oil mill. newroads.net.
Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival: Memorial Park, 300 N. Sixth St., Ponchatoula. This festival features over 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. lastrawberryfestival.com.
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. stjohnboscochurch.com.
Saturday, April 9
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 delicious fried pond-raised catfish at this north Louisiana event. franklinparishcatfishfestival.com.
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. sttammanyartassociation.org.
Saturday-Sunday, April 9-10
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. batonrougebluesfestival.org.
Saturday-Thursday, April 9-14
DEWEY BALFA CAJUN AND CREOLE HERITAGE WEEK: Vermilionville Living History and Folklife Park, 300 Fisher Road, Lafayette. “The Greatest Week of Cajun and Creole Culture on the Planet!” forklore workshops and culinary celebrations. Prices vary per event. lafolkroots.org.
Sunday, April 10
ALLONS MANGER FESTIVAL: St. Jules Catholic Church, 7161 La. 1, Belle Rose. “A Cajun Extravaganza” is how this church festival of food, music and fun is billed. stelizabethstjules.com.
FESTIVAL OF BALLOONS: Hilton New Orleans Riverside, 2 Poydras St., New Orleans. Showcase of balloon displays and art by international artists, part of world balloon convention. $10. facebook.com/festivalballoon.
Wednesday-Sunday, April 13-15
LOUISIANA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Cinemark, Perkins Rowe, Baton Rouge. Film festival, music events, gala receptions to celebrate state’s film industry. Prices vary per event. lifilmfest.org.
Thursday-Saturday, April 14-16
GREAT SOUTHERN BLUE GRASS EVENT: Great Southern RV Park, 30338 Hwy. 21, Angie. Indoor festival with bluegrass music, concessions. $20 per day. greatsouthernbluegrassevent.com.
Friday-Saturday, April 15-16
NATCHITOCHES JAZZ/R&B FESTIVAL: Cane River banks, downtown Natchitoches. Music festival with headliners Grand Funk Railroad, Midnight star and 7 Bridges. $25 weekend pass. natchjazzfest.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. downtowncrawfishfest.com.
Friday-Sunday, April 15-17
BAYOU TECHe BLACK BEAR FESTIVAL: Downtown Franklin. Festival dedicated to education on the Louisiana black bear, with food, music, field trips, education exhibits and children’s activities. bayoutechebearfest.org.
Saturday, April 16
BURAS VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT OILFIELD CRAWFISH BOIL-off: Fort Jackson Ball Field, Buras. Fundraiser for fire department. $15. plaqueminestourism.com.
Saturday-Sunday, April 16-17
ANGOLA RODEO: Louisiana State Penitentiary, 10000 Tunica Trace, Tunica. Rodeo events, food, music and inmate hobby and craft items for sale are the hallmarks of this spring version of the world-famous prison rodeo. $15 admission. angolarodeo.com.
CAJUN FEST: Visitation of Our Lady Catholic Church, Ames and Barataria Boulevards, Marrero. Music, food, raffles, royal tea, auctions and children’s activities are just a part of this church festival. vol.org/cajunfest.
GREAT LOUISIANA BIRDFEST: Northlake Nature Center, 23135 U.S. 190 East, Mandeville. Annual event to coincide with migration patterns of birds, including trips, food and workshops. Prices vary per event. northlakenature.org/birdfest.
Le FEU ET L’EAU FESTIVAL: NUNU Arts and Culture Collective, 1510 Bayou Courtableau Hwy., Arnaudville. Arts event with artists, performers, cultural workers. fireandwaterfestival.org.
MELROSE ARTS AND CRAFTS FESTIVAL: Melrose Plantation, 3533 La. 119, Melrose. Fine arts and crafts held on the grounds of the historic home, with food vendors and home tours, 18 miles south of Natchitoches. $5. melroseplantation.org.
NEW ORLEANS POETRY FESTIVAL: Arts Estuary, 1024 Elysian Fields Ave., and other locations, New Orleans. First event, with readings, “poetry with bands” show, workshops, panels and performances. lavenderink.org./poetryfest/
Wednesday-Sunday, April 20-24
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. festivalinternational.org.
Friday-Saturday, April 22-23
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. thecanoefestival.com
Friday-Sunday, April 22-24
ETOUFFEE FESTIVAL: St. John Francis Regis Church Grounds, 370 Main St., Arnaudville. This festival features a mayor’s cooking competition, a variety of etouffees and other foods, music, rides and arts and crafts. johnfrancisregis.net.
The Italian Festival: 500081 U.S. 51, Tickfaw. Three days of entertainment, rides, parades, pageants and cuisine celebrate the rich heritage of the area. theitalianfestivalorg.com.
LECOMPTE PIE FESTIVAL: Old Lecompte High School grounds, Elm Street and La. 456, Lecompte. Food, carnival rides, parades, royalty and pies in the state’s official pie capital. asliceoflouisiana.net.
ST. JOAN OF ARC’S FAIR: 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 held Saturday.
Friday-Sunday, Thursday-Sunday, April 22-May 1
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. nojazzfest.com.
Saturday-Sunday, April 23-24
SPRING STREET FAIR: First, Second and Erlanger Streets, Slidell. More than 200 vendors offer antiques, jewelry, art, crafts, toys and collectibles, plus live music. slidellantiques.com.
Monday-Wednesday, April 25-27
NOLA CRAWFISH FESTIVAL: NOLA Brewery and tap Room, 3001 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans. New festival celebrates music, food and brews in this weekday after-hours fest over three nights. $45 and up. nolacrawfishfest.com.
Wednesday-Sunday, April 27-May 1
ZFEST: Zachary Arts & Music Festival: BREC Zachary Community Park, 20101 Old Scenic Highway 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. zfest.us.
Thursday-Sunday, April 28-May 1
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. firemensfair.com
Thursday, April 28 through Sunday, May 8
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. contrabanddays.com.
Friday-Sunday, April 29-May 1
FESTIVAL IN THE PARK: Cassidy Park, 625 Willis Ave., Bogalusa. Annual Chamber of Commerce festival with arts and crafts, nonprofit and food booths, plus more. bogalusachamber.cc.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. scblittleredchurch.org.
OUr lady of prompt succor tomato festival: 2320 Paris Road, Chalmette. The school and church fair is a celebration of south Louisiana delicacies, with live entertainment and a variety of festival royalty. olpsschool.org.
Saturday, April 30
ST. FRANCISVILLE/JACKSON SPRING GARDEN STROLL: St. Francisville Town Hall or Centenary Inn in Jackson. This fundraiser offers tours of homes in Feliciana Parish. stfrancisvillespringstroll.org.
Friday-Saturday, May 6-7
MAYFEST: Downtown Leesville. The two-day event features live music, demonstrating artists and children’s activities, plus food, a gospel tent and pancake breakfast. venturevernon.com.
ZWOLLE LOGGERS & FORESTRY FESTIVAL: Zwolle Festival Grounds, S. 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.” zwolleloggersandforestryfestival.com.
Friday-Sunday, May 6-8
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. bayoucivicclub.org.
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. bbcrawfest.com.
Saturday, May 7
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. crawfishmambo.com.
Herb and Garden Festival: Marie Street, Sunset. The festival offers over 75 vendors selling fresh herbs, herbal products, yard art, and native plants and flowers. Guest speakers and book signings are also slated. sunsetherbfestival.com.
Wednesday-Saturday, May 11-14
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. raynefrogfestival.com.
Thursday-Sunday, May 12-15
COCHON DE LAIT FESTIVAL: Downtown Mansura. Celebration of the roast suckling pig, with music, a vast array of contests, carnival rides, arts and crafts and ending with a Grand Feast of, what else? cochondelaitfestival.com.
Friday-Sunday, May 13-15
PLAQUEMINES PARISH SEAFOOD AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL: F. Edward Hebert Boulevard, Belle Chasse. Visitors enjoy local seafood and other unique local food specialties plus live music, local artists and craftsmen, carnival rides and helicopter rides over an historic battlefield. plaqueminesparishfestival.com.
Saturday, May 14
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. laveteransfestival.com.
Wednesday-Sunday, May 18-29
BIRDFOOT FESTIVAL: Various locations, New Orleans. Seven days of live chamber music, parties, dinners, mentoring programs and more. birdfootfestival.org.
Thursday-Saturday, May 19-21
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. mayhawfest.com.
Friday-Sunday, May 20-22
MID-CITY BAYOU BOOGALOO: 500 N. Jefferson Davis Pkwy., New Orleans. Music, food, an arts market against the backdrop of Bayou St. John — a rising festival in the local calendar. www.thebayouboogaloo.com.
Thursday-Sunday, May 26-29
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. kssportsmensheritagefestival.com.
New Orleans Wine and Food Experience: various locations, New Orleans. From vintner 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 27-29
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. $7 admission. greekfestnola.com.
Jambalaya Festival: Gonzales Civic Center, Irma Boulevard and Cornerview Road, 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 three days to get it all in. www.jambalayafestival.org.
Friday-Sunday, June 3-5
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. gheensbonmange.webs.com.
Saturday-Sunday, June 4-5
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. neworleansoysterfestival.org.
Thursday-Saturday, June 9-11
LOUISIANA CORN FESTIVAL: Lake Street, Bunkie. Rides, food, music, sports tournaments, pageants, parades and cooking competitions are part of this festival. bunkiechamber.net/cornfestival.
Friday-Saturday, June 10-11
COQUILLE PARK JUNEFEST: Coquille Park and Recreation Center, Covington. Indoor arts and crafts festival. steinhaurerproductions.com.
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. lakearthurfestivals.com.
Saturday-Sunday, June 11-12
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. frenchmarket.org.
Friday-Sunday, June 17-19
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. louisianacatfishfestival.com.
NEW ORLEANS PRIDE FESTIVAL: Various locations throughout New Orleans. Celebrations of LGBT events, including appearances by Bianca del Rio, a parade (June 18) and more. prideneworleans.com.
Saturday-Sunday, June 18-19
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. jazzandheritage.org/Cajun-zydeco.
Thursday-Saturday, June 23-25
BEAUREGARD WATERMELON FESTIVAL: Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds, DeRidder. Live entertainment, food, pageants, children’s activities and watermelons are the hallmarks of this west Louisiana festival. beauregardwatermelonfestival.com.
Friday-Saturday, June 24-25
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 both days, and arts and crafts booths and beauty pageants are slated. lasmokedmeatfestival.com.
Louisiana Peach Festival: Dowtown Ruston. Festival celebrates the north Louisiana peach crop, with contests, carnival rides, art exhibits, pageants, food, music and more. $15 weekend pass. louisianapeachfestival.org.
Friday-Sunday, June 24-26
SNAKE OIL FESTIVAL: The Howlin’ Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., New Orleans. Festival of workshops and performances of burlesque, sideshow, vaudeville and circus acts. Prices vary. snakeoilfestival.com.
Saturday-Sunday, June 25-26
ST. TAMMANY CRAB FESTIVAL: Heritage Park, 1701 Bayou Lane, Slidell. Crab and the cuisine that features it are the showcases of this festival that includes other foods, music, children’s activities, a car show and more. sttammanycrabfestival.com.
Tuesday-Saturday, June 30-July 4
ERATH 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION: Erath. Five days of music, food, fireworks, waterfights and a parade highlight the USA’s birthday bash. www.erath4.com.
Tuesday-Sunday, June 30-July 5
ESSENCE FESTIVAL: Various locations in New Orleans. Headline recording artists, empowerment workshops, a host of seminars and more are just part of the national celebration sponsored by Essence magazine. Prices vary by event. essence.com/festival.