With the promise of fall and (hopefully) cooler weather in the weeks ahead, the Louisiana festival season arises from a summer slumber to fill the calendar with food, fun and folkways.
A diverse assortment of celebrations is on tap, many just a few miles away — all part of the spice of life that is unique to the Bayou State and its environs.
These are just some of the festivals and fairs in the area and throughout Louisiana.
SUNDAY, AUG. 9
- CULTURAL TRADITION FESTIVAL: A.L. Davis Park, LaSalle Street and Washington Avenue, New Orleans. A chance to interact with community leaders from a wide array of social and cultural organizations. Music, cuisine and arts and crafts, plus rides. Noon to 6 p.m. (504) 248-0724.
WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY, AUG. 12-16
- DELCAMBRE SHRIMP FESTIVAL: 409 E. Main St., Delcambre. Celebrating all things shrimp, the festival is about 20 miles southwest of Lafayette and features four days of rides, music and food. Baby and beauty contests. Blessing of the fleet on Sunday. Admission is $10 for Friday and Saturday. shrimpfestival.net.
SATURDAY, AUG. 15
- ARTS & CRABS FEST: Burton Complex, 7001 Gulf Highway, Lake Charles. Regional cuisine, culture and art are the hallmarks of this event, which includes live music, interactive cultural activities and a crab dish and craft brew tasting. $25. artsandhumanitiesswla.org.
SUNDAY, AUG. 16
- SUSHI FEST AND COMPETITION: Lakefront Arena, 6801 Franklin Ave., New Orleans. Celebrate Japanese culture and food with an afternoon of sushi, beer, sake and crafts for purchase, plus entertainment. 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., $15 advance, $25 door. neworleanssushifest.com.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY, AUG. 27-30
- GUEYDAN DUCK FESTIVAL: Duck Festival Park, 404 Dallas Guidry Road, Gueydan. From a grand parade to hunting events, like duck and goose calling and decoy carving, this south Louisiana festival packs all the goodies into a weekend in Cajun country. $10 admission Friday and Saturday. duckfestival.org.
WEDNESDAY-MONDAY, SEPT. 2-7
- SOUTHERN DECADENCE: French Quarter, New Orleans. What began as a farewell to a summer event has blossomed into one of the largest gay celebrations in the south. Most of the activities and gatherings occur near the corners of Bourbon and St. Ann streets. Parties, events and the Sunday parade are features. southerndecadence.net.
THURSDAY-MONDAY, SEPT. 3-7
- LOUISIANA SHRIMP AND PETROLEUM FESTIVAL: Lawrence Park, 715 Second St., Morgan City. Proclaimed the oldest chartered festival in the state, this extravaganza boasts arts and crafts, a parade, blessing of the fleet, fireworks, music and tons of seafood. shrimpandpetroleum.org.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY, SEPT. 4-5
- CANE RIVER ZYDECO FESTIVAL: Downtown along the Cane River, Natchitoches. Sponsored by the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association — Cane River Branch, this event features food, fun and music, plus a poker run throughout the area. $7 admission for Saturday. (800) 259-1714. natchitoches.net.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY, SEPT. 4-6
- LOUISIANA SEAFOOD FESTIVAL: City Park Festival Grounds, 61 Friedricks Ave., New Orleans. Three days of live music, cooking demonstrations, arts, kids’ events and food and beverages to purchase are on tap at this free festival. (504) 482-4888. louisianaseafoodfestival.com.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 5
- ORIGINAL SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA ZYDECO MUSIC FESTIVAL: Zydeco Park, 457 Zydeco Road, Opelousas. Located in the Plaisance community of this St. Landry Park town, the theme for this year is “Bringing It Back to the Roots, Celebrate the Year of Music.” Dances, cooking contests, rides and music. $10 adults, $5 under 12. zydeco.org.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, SEPT. 12-13
- OLDIES BUT GOODIES FEST AND BBQ COOK-OFF: West Baton Rouge Tourist Information and Conference Center, 2750 N. Westport Drive, Port Allen. Celebrate the good times of the past with music, vendors, antique cars, food and contests, plus music. (800) 654-9701. westbatonrouge.net.
WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY, SEPT. 16-19
- ALLEN PARISH FAIR: Allen Parish Fair Grounds, 400 Allen Ave., Oberlin. Traditional Louisiana parish fair, with music, food, booths and rides, plus a rodeo. allenparish.com.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY, SEPT. 17-20
- NEW ORLEANS BURLESQUE FESTIVAL: Various locations in New Orleans. From around the world, burlesque entertainers gather for competitions, performances and parties that celebrate the style of striptease artists. Tickets are available for individual events. neworleansburlesquefest.com.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY, SEPT. 18-19
- ATCHITOCHES MEAT PIE FESTIVAL: On the banks of the Cane River, downtown Natchitoches. The world-famous culinary staple is celebrated with a two-day fest that includes contests, music and most certainly, meat pies. meatpiefestival.com.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY, SEPT. 18-19
- ST. MARTINVILLE PEPPER FESTIVAL: Cookoffs, contests, rides and a hot pepper-eating contest to top it off at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Nathan Williams and the Zydeco Cha-Chas highlight live music schedule. Festival grounds, St. Martinville, $5.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY, SEPT. 18-20
- ST. THERESA BON TON FESTIVAL: 4822 Carlyss Drive, Sulphur. Three days of live entertainment, seafood, barbecue and festival activities are part of this South Louisiana annual event. st-theresa-parish.org.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY, SEPT. 24-27
- ALLIGATOR FESTIVAL: West Bank Bridge Park, 13825 River Road, Luling. This Rotary Club of St. Charles Parish festival funds scholarships for local youth and features rides, food, music, and arts and crafts under the bridge. alligatorfestival.org.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY, SEPT. 25-26
- ASCENSION HOT AIR BALLOON FESTIVAL: Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, 9039 S. St. Landry Ave., Gonzales. Entertainment, music, food and surprises are part of this festival that offers the spectacle of hot air balloons, blues and barbecue. $5. ascensionballooning.com.
- BOGALUSA BLUES AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL: Cassidy Park, 129 Ben Miller Drive, Bogalusa. This relatively new festival makes a big splash with lots of music, events, food and activities. $10 per day in advance, $15 at the gate. bogalusablues.com.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY, SEPT. 25-27
- CUT OFF YOUTH CENTER HURRICANE FESTIVAL: Cut Off Youth Center, 205 W. 79th St., Cut Off. Music, food, carnival rides and fun are part of this festival. (985) 632-7616. visitlafourche.com.
- LOUISIANA SUGAR CANE FESTIVAL: In and around Bouligny Plaza, W. Main Street, New Iberia. A sweet time, indeed, is certain at this venerable festival, with three days of parades, pageants, music, cars, arts and crafts, and food. $10 starting at 5 p.m. Gates open Friday and Saturday. hisugar.org.
- OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP SCHOOL FAIR: 8968 La. 23, Belle Chasse. Food, crafts, rides and more are under the theme “Superheroes of OLPH.” (504) 394-0314. olphbc.org/events/olph-fair.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, SEPT. 26-27
- BEST OF THE BAYOU FESTIVAL: Main Street along Bayou Terrebonne, downtown Houma. This two-festival highlights music, but also food, an arts marketplace, a “great gator race” and more. (985) 876-5600. bestofthebayou.la.
WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY, SEPT. 30-OCT. 4
- ST. TAMMANY PARISH FAIR: 1304 N. Columbia St., Covington. Five days of fair events, including livestock and produce judging, pageants, parades, carnival rides, entertainment, and a rodeo. (985) 892-8421. sttammanyparishfair.info.
WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY, SEPT. 30-OCT. 4
- TANGIPAHOA PARISH FAIR: 400 Reid Ave., Amite. This parish fair, dating to 1888, is five days of carnival rides, contests, food, parades and entertainment in the heart of Amite. tangipahoaparishfair.org.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 2-4
- GRETNA HERITAGE FESTIVAL: Downtown Gretna. Covering 25 blocks, with six stages of national and local entertainers, an international array of food, plus arts and crafts and rides, the Gretna Heritage Festival has grown in its 20 years to a major event on the West Bank. $20 daily, $15 in advance, $50 weekend pass. (504) 361-7748. gretnafest.com.
SATURDAY, OCT. 3
- ART FOR ARTS’ SAKE: Arts District, downtown New Orleans. Galleries throughout the CBD area and Magazine Street will have special openings to celebrate the art and culture of the city.
- BLUES IN DA PARISH: Docville Farm, 5124 E. St. Bernard Highway, Violet. Music, presentations, kids’ activities and more are featured in this St. Bernard Parish event. (504) 281-2514. facebook.com/BluesInDaParish.
THURSDAY-SATURDAY, OCT. 8-10
- ZWOLLE TAMALE FIESTA: Fiesta Grounds, S. Main Street, Zwolle. One of the most unique titles of any festival, this North Louisiana event celebrates the Spanish and Indian heritage of the town. With entertainment, arts, crafts, food and contests, this fest has much to offer. $5. zwolletamalefiesta.com.
FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS, OCT. 9-10, 16-17, 23-24
- OKTOBERFEST: Rivertown Exhibition Hall, 415 Williams Blvd., Kenner. Presented by Deutsches Haus, this annual celebration of all things German takes place over three weekends in Oct. Food, music, races, contest and more are on tap. $6. (504) 522-8014. oktoberfestnola.com.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 9-11
- BRIDGE CITY GUMBO FESTIVAL: Angel Square, 1701 Bridge City Ave., Bridge City. Gumbo is cooked daily at the festival, with both seafood and chicken and sausage types to whet the appetite. Also on hand are other Louisiana dishes music, rides, festival fun and some of the most interesting royal crowns in the state.$3. gumbo.olpsw.org.
- FESTIVALS ACADIENS ET CREOLES: Girard Park, 500 Girard Park Drive, Lafayette. Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the arrival of Acadians in South Louisiana, this international festival celebrates the heritage of the region with food, music, special events and activities just for kids. festivalsacadiens.com.
- LOUISIANA CATTLE FESTIVAL: Downtown Abbeville. This salute to the state’s cattle industry features pageants, contests, a livestock show, parades, street dancing and more.
- LOUISIANA GUMBO FESTIVAL OF CHACKBAY: Chackbay-Choupic Fairgrounds, 326 La. 304, Chackbay. Gumbo is the name of the game at this event, sponsored by the Chackbay Volunteer Fire Department, with live music, other good food and rides. (985) 633-2828. lagumbofest.com.
SATURDAY, OCT. 10
- FALL FOR ART: Downtown Covington. Live performances, gallery openings, movie screenings and dining are the marks of this event sponsored by the St. Tammany Art Association. (985) 892-8650. sttammanyartassociation.org.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 10-11
- CARNAVAL LATINO: French Quarter, New Orleans. The Latin heritage of New Orleans is celebrated in this festival of parades, music and food throughout the French Quarter in this “Celebration of the Americas.” (504) 528-8560.
- WOODEN BOAT FESTIVAL: Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, 133 Mable Drive, Madisonville. This two-day event pays tribute to the hand-crafted boats of the Gulf Coast along the banks of the Tchefuncte River. Music, food, contests, children’s activities and lots of boats are on hand for the event. $10, $5 seniors, children and active military free. (985) 845-9200. woodenboatfest.org.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 15-18
- INTERNATIONAL RICE FESTIVAL: Parkerson Avenue at Court Circle, Crowley. This festival is one of the oldest and largest agricultural festivals in the south. With food, music, parades and all things rice, this festival is a mainstay of the state’s fair calendar. ricefestival.com.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 16-18
- CRESCENT CITY BLUES AND BBQ FESTIVAL: Lafayette Square Park, 540 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans. The 10th annual salute to good music and good food features a host of entertainment luminaries, plus an arts market. (504) 558-6100. jazzandheritage.org/blues-fest/
- HARVEST FESTIVAL ON FALSE RIVER: Downtown New Roads. Two stages, two food courts, arts and crafts and special attractions are part of this Pointe Coupee Parish event. harvestfestivalonfalseriver.com.
- KC INTERNATIONAL ACADIAN FESTIVAL: Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park, 57845 Foundry St., Plaquemine. Celebrating all things Acadian, this festival on the western side of the Mississippi River features food, rides, games and live entertainment. (225) 687-2061. kc970.org.
- ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH ANDOUILLE FESTIVAL: St. John Community Center, 2900 La. 51, LaPlace. Andouille will be the featured product in a host of great food at this annual River Parish event. From beauty queens to eating contests, as well as cooking competitions and carnival rides, the festival has much to offer. (985) 652-9569. andouillefestival.com.
- VIOLET OYSTER FESTIVAL: Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 2621 Colonial Blvd., Violet. The delectable bivalve is the cause celebre at this annual function, with rides, music contests and a crafts fair. (504) 682-7070. olol-church.com/oyster_festival.htm.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 17-18
- EXPERIENCE LOUISIANA FESTIVAL: LSU-Eunice, 2048 Johnson Highway, Eunice. Featuring the state’s diverse folklife is at the heart of this festival that includes music, a musicians’ village, an artists’ village, crafts, film and food as well. The national champion LSU-E Bengal baseball team will participate in an exhibition game Saturday. (337) 457-1776. experiencelouisiana.org.
TUESDAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 20-25
- LOUISIANA COTTON FESTIVAL: North Side Civic Center, 704 N. Soileau St., Ville Platte. The crop that once was king is celebrated in a host of ways at this Evangeline Parish festival. Street dances, competitions of all sorts, carnival rides and live entertainment are just a part of this festival. The Tournoi, or tournament, in conjunction with festival, celebrates the ancient art of jousting where riders battle the seven evils of cotton: bollworm, boll weevil, flood, drought, rayon, nylon, and silk. (337) 831-3340. louisianacottonfestival.com.
WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY, OCT. 21-24
- WASHINGTON PARISH FREE FAIR: Washington Parish Fairgrounds, 115 Main St., Franklinton. Billed as “the nation’s largest free fair,” this event features live music, a parade, a rodeo, rides, art shows and exhibitions. freefair.com.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 22-25
- FRENCH FOOD FESTIVAL: Larose Civic Center, 307 E. Fifth St., Larose. Celebrating south Louisiana food, music and more, this Lafourche Parish festival is an attraction. (985) 693-7355. www.frenchfoodfest.com.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 22-NOV. 1
- GREATER BATON ROUGE STATE FAIR: Greater Baton Rouge State Fairgrounds, 16072 Airline Highway, Midway. Rides, food, contests, livestock shows and a wide assortment of events are on tap at this traditional state fair. gbrsf.com.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 22-NOV. 8
- STATE FAIR OF LOUISIANA: State Fairgrounds, 3701 Hudson Ave., Shreveport. Two weeks of live entertainment, carnival rides, rodeos and competitions are on tap at this north Louisiana event. $10 or $75 for a pass. statefairoflouisiana.com.
SATURDAY, OCT. 24
- SWEET DOUGH PIE FESTIVAL: St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 174 Church St., Grand Coteau. The history of this Acadiana town is celebrated in a festival with food, music, historic demonstrations and contests. (337) 662-3058. sweetdoughgc.com.
- Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 24-25
- ROUGAROU FEST: 7857 Main St., Houma. Family-friendly, this spooky festival celebrates the folklore of the bayous and raises funds for the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center. Music, events (a Halloween parade) and more are on tap. (985) 580-7289. rougaroufest.org.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY, OCT. 30-NOV. 1
VOODOO MUSIC + Arts Experience: City Park, New Orleans. Three days of music, with food, arts markets and more draw thousands to the grasslands of City Park. $125 and up. (887) 569-7767. worshipthemusic.com.