Each year, more than 100,000 tourists visit Avery Island, the home of Tabasco Pepper Sauce.

The McIlhenny Co., makers of Tabasco Pepper Sauce, won the Attraction of the Year Award at the recent Louisiana Travel Promotion Association's annual meeting in Natchitoches.

More than 100,000 tourists visit Avery Island in Iberia Parish each year to see the Tabasco factory, Jungle Gardens and the Bird City wildfowl refuge. In February 2016, McIlhenny completed a $5.5 million expansion of the factory tour centered around a new museum which houses valuable objects from the nearly 150-year history of Tabasco sauce, an LTPA news release said.

In addition to the tour, visitors can shop the Tabasco Country Store, eat at 1868, a new cafeteria-style restaurant, or go on the Tabasco Food Tour at several local establishments.

The LTPA's "Louey Awards" recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to the Louisiana tourism industry.

Other Louey winners are: Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau, Outstanding Convention and Visitors Bureau/Tourist Commission of the Year (budget up to $499,999); Sabine Parish Tourist Commission, Outstanding Convention and Bureau/Tourist Commission of the Year (budget from $500,000 to $999,999); Visit Baton Rouge, Outstanding Convention and Bureau/Tourist Commission of the Year (budget of $1 million and higher); Alexandria-Pineville CVB — Eat Here Cenla, Tourism Campaign/Promotion of the Year; City of Alexandria's Alex Winter Fete, Festival/Event of the Year; DoubleTree by Hilton Lafayette, Accommodation of the Year/Full-Service Lodging; Comfort Suites Natchitoches, Accommodation of the Year/Limited-Service Lodging; A Chateau on the Bayou, Accommodation of the Year/Bed & Breakfast; Charlie Goodson of Southern Hospitality Kitchens in Lafayette, Restaurateur of the Year; Lakeview Lodge in Ferriday, Campground RV/Park of the Year; state Sen. Eric LaFleur, Governmental Friend of Tourism; state Rep. Helena Moreno, Governmental Friend of Tourism; Jonathan "JT" Taylor with the Livingston Parish CVB, Rising Star; Michael Valentino with Valentino Properties, Will Mangham Tourism Lifetime Achievement.

Eagle Expo starts Thursday

Seminars from wildlife and nature experts, a live raptor presentation, boat tours to view eagles and opportunities to meet fellow birders are planned for the 12th Annual Eagle Expo and More Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 16-18, in Morgan City.

The Eagle Expo is a tribute to the return of the American bald eagle to Louisiana, which was removed from the endangered species list in 2007. Laws banning the use of harmful pesticides, such as DDT, and greater public awareness and education have increased the bald eagle population throughout Louisiana and the United States.

There are nearly 300 active nests in Louisiana with a large concentration in St. Mary and Terrebonne parishes, a news release said.

For a complete event schedule, costs, registration forms and listings of hotel rates, contact the Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau, (985) 380-8224, cajuncoast.com/eagleexpo or info@cajuncoast.com.

Charge up at Paragon

Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville has added two Leviton Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations on the second floor of its parking garage where guests can charge up for free.

Also, Paragon's Legends Steakhouse has been revamped with fresh paint and upholstery. A new menu is coming soon.

The resort is offering live cooking demonstrations with executive chef James Shields. The cooking demos run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m each Saturday in February and March in the Hotel Atrium. For more info, go to paragoncasinoresort.com.

Valentines past

Otis House Museum at Fairview-Riverside State Park near Madisonville will display vintage Valentines, postcards and various seasonal greeting cards through February in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Within the tour, visitors will learn a bit of history about the popular holiday while viewing old valentines as well as Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas cards. The program is free with museum admission, which is $4 for ages 13-61 and free for ages 12 and younger or 62 and older.

Fairview-Riverside State Park is located one mile east of Madisonville on La. 22 in St. Tammany Parish. For more information, call (985) 792-4652 or (888) 677-3247.


Follow Judy Bergeron on Twitter, @judybergeronbr.