FRIDAY-SATURDAY, APRIL 12-13
LOUISIANA RAILROAD DAYS FESTIVAL: Railroad Museum Park, DeQuincy. Cupcake eating contest, carnival rides, food booths, queen pageant, arts and crafts, parade at 2:30 p.m. Friday, parent/child look alike contest, 5K run, barbeque cook-off Saturday, live music. Hours: 2 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m.-midnight Saturday. http://larailroaddaysfestival.com
FRIDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 12-14
FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL: French Quarter, New Orleans. The festival’s 30th anniversary will offer more than 800 local musicians, more than 65 of New Orleans finest restaurants, free special events, family fun with two kids’ areas, and fireworks on the Mississippi River at 9 p.m. Saturday. http://www.fqfi.org/frenchquarterfest/.
PONCHATOULA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL: Memorial Park and along Sixth and Hickory streets, Ponchatoula. Parade on Saturday morning, 1 mile fun run & 10K race on Sunday morning, strawberry eating contests, live bands, strawberry auction, sack races, carnival rides, food and more. http://www.lastrawberryfestival.com.
SOUTHERN GARDEN FESTIVAL: gardens of Harold and Sarah Schoeffler, 3502 E. Simcoe St., Lafayette (near Oakbourne Country Club). Annual spring fundraiser for Family Promise of Acadiana. Includes Evening Under the Stars event Friday night. (337) 233-3477.
CAJUN HOT SAUCE FESTIVAL: SugArena, Acadiana Fairgrounds, 713 NW Bypass (La. 3212), New Iberia. Live bands, carnival midway, jambalaya cook-off, hot sauce making competition, food. Hours: 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 4:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. http://www.sugarena.com.
GREAT LOUISIANA BIRDFEST: various southeast Louisiana sites including the Pine Island Rookery, Joyce Wildlife Management Area/Manchac Swamp, Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge, East Pearl River Estate, Bogue Chitto River Reserve Habitats and Honey Island Swamp. Photo workshop and shoot, boardwalk trip to spot songbirds, social and evening birding trip on Sunday. Advance registration required. http://www.northlakenature.org.
WESTLAKE FAMILY FUN & FOOD FESTIVAL: St. John Bosco Catholic Church, Westlake. Family festival with events for children, train rides, food including Louisiana specialties. (337) 439-6585.
SATURDAY, APRIL 13
BATON ROUGE BLUES FESTIVAL: 11 a.m.-8 p.m., downtown Baton Rouge. Blues legends and newcomers will be featured, including Bobby Rush, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Henry Gray, Lavelle White, CC Adcock & The Lafayette Marquis, Bryan Lee, Oscar Harpo Davis, Blind Boy Paxton, Baby Bee and Mr. Hinson & the Blisters. Also, behind-the-scenes interviews with Davis (interviewed by Rob Payer), Adcock (interviewed by Alex V. Cook), White (interviewed by Maxine Crump), Rush (interviewed by Karen Henderson) and Paxton (interviewed by Ian Perkins). Free. http://www.batonrougebluesfest.org.
FIRST ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL: Centenary State Historic Site, 3522 College St., Jackson. Craft demonstrators, artists, vendors with handmade items; live music by Old Sole; free tethered hot air balloon rides 10 a.m.-noon; antique and classic car show 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; tours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission $4, adults; free, children 12 and under and seniors 62 and older. (888) 677-2364 or (225) 634-7925.
FRANKLIN PARISH CATFISH FESTIVAL: downtown Winnsboro. Three music stages will operate throughout the day at Patriot Square and next to the Council on Aging building, along with another stage on the loading dock behind the Old Post Office Museum. Grammy and Dove winner Jason Crabb and Cajun Jo-el Sonnier are among the headliners. Antique car show, 5K run, baseball tournament. http://www.franklinparishcatfishfestival.com.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 13-14
VELO LOUISIANE: various locations in Baton Rouge and headquartered on Town Square. The annual bicycle festival includes the mayor’s family bike ride on Saturday morning, an evening art event, the Velo Urban ride on Sunday morning, and fun, education and entertainment on Town Square Sunday afternoon. http://www.brsafestreets.org.
DOWNTOWN CRAWFISH FEST: Lake Charles Civic Center, Lake Charles. The crawfish is celebrated with family fun, music, food and more. Admission: $7 before 6 p.m.; $10 after 6 p.m.; free, kids under 12. (337) 310-0083.
MELROSE ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL: Melrose Plantation, south of Natchitoches. Fine arts and crafts, food vendors, home tours (800) 259-1714 or http://www.aphnatchitoches.net/.
TUESDAY-THURSDAY, APRIL 16-18
XAVIER UNIVERSITY JAZZ FESTIVAL: Clinics, workshops and lectures daily by local and national music artists in the Xavier Music Recital Hall, along with concerts at 7 p.m. each evening at the Old U.S. Mint. All events free. (504) 520-7568
THURSDAY-SUNDAY, APRIL 18-21
WASHINGTON CATFISH FESTIVAL: festival grounds, Washington. Live Cajun, Creole, zydeco, swamp pop and R&B music, native crafts, exhibits, parade, antiques, food booths, arts and crafts and a catfish cook-off on Sunday. http://www.townofwashingtonla.org or (337) 826-3626.