LUTCHER — Snow may be falling Friday, but 74 warm pots of gumbo will be bubbling as the Festival of the Bonfires kicks into full gear for three days of events, organizers said Thursday.
A kind of kickoff for St. James Parish's annual Christmas Eve bonfires on the Mississippi River levee, the festival started Thursday night with band performances and resumes 2 p.m. Friday with more music, the gumbo cook-off and contests for best potato salad and bread pudding.
Rhonda Lee, the longtime festival president, said inclement weather won't halt activities.
"We're going full force. Full force, OK?" Lee said Thursday evening.
The gumbo cook-off will include contests for chicken-and-andouille, seafood and red bean gumbo.
Though most levee bonfire structures are just starting to be built, the festival has a bonfire lighting 7 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday on the levee at Lutcher Avenue and River Road, Lee said. Free shuttles will take festival-goers from the festival site at Lutcher Park to the levee.
Events starting at 9 a.m. Saturday include a variety of contests and dance and music performances while Sunday includes a morning 5K walk/run and a classic car show and parade and performances throughout the day and early evening.
Admission is $5. Children younger than 10 and adults older than 62 are admitted free-of-charge. The park is at 2545 Louisiana Ave., Lutcher.