River Views: River Parishes to celebrate Independence Day on July 3 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--New River Parish columnist Lori Lyons in New Orleans, La. Monday, April 20, 2015.

The Rotary Club of St. Charles will hold its 36th annual Alligator Festival from Thursday to Sunday at the West Bank Bridge Park in Luling.

Preview night will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday with rides and limited food and drink options. The festival runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Rides, live music, games, food, children’s activities and other entertainment will be featured all weekend, along with a variety of alligator food dishes. Admission is $1 at the gate. Parking is free.

This year, festival organizers are encouraging visitors to take advantage of the festival’s access to the Mississippi River levee bike path and “Bike to the Fest.” The Alligator Stomp 5K Fun Run will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Norco Christmas Parade

“Santa 4 President” is the tongue-in-cheek theme of this year’s Norco Christmas Parade, which will roll through the streets of Norco at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6.

“With respect to all candidates and parties, the residents of Norco are making the best choice in this year’s elections: Santa!” Parade Committee Chairman Stephen Weber said. “This was one of the first ideas that came to mind when we discussed possible themes, and we plan on making the parade a patriotic spectacle to go along with it.”

The Parade Committee invites local marching groups, dancing groups, bands, floats, antique car drivers, horse riders, pageant queens and others to participate in the event.

Those interested may visit the parade website, www.norconoel.com, to read the parade guidelines and to download an entry form. The entry fee is $50. Entries will not be accepted after the Nov. 20 deadline. Vehicles must provide proof of insurance.

Participants are strongly encouraged to follow the theme of the parade and/or the holiday season in their costumes and music.

The Norco Christmas Parade, a function of the Norco Civic Association, is in its 15th year. Once a River Parishes fixture, the parade was discontinued in the 1970s, then revived in 2001. It has rolled every year except 2005, following Hurricane Katrina. It is co-sponsored by the Norco Manufacturing Complex and Valero.

For information, visit www.norconoel.com, email norcoparade@aol.com or call (985) 764-2808.

It’s the Battle for the Paddle

Do you make the best gumbo or jambalaya in the River Parishes? Want to prove it? Enter the United Way of St. Charles’ annual Battle for the Paddle jambalaya and gumbo cook-off to be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, at the West Bank Bridge Park, 13825 River Road, Luling.

Family, industry and business teams from across the region are invited to compete, and the public is invited to attend.

The participation fee is $150 before Sept. 24 and $175 after Sept. 24. There is a $5 entry fee for all you can eat. Children 10 and younger will be admitted free.

There will be live music from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Free parking with complimentary buses will be available at the Satellite Center, 285 Judge Edward Dufresne Parkway, Luling; at R.K. Smith Middle School, 281 Judge Edward Dufresne Parkway, Luling; and at the St. Charles Parish Public Schools Maintenance Facility.

For information, visit www.uwaysc.org/battle-paddle.