Twenty miles southwest of Lafayette, Louisiana there is a town known for an American delicacy that most of us enjoy: SHRIMP! Delcambre, Louisiana has an entire festival dedicated to these crustaceans. This year the festival is going on from August 14th- August 18th.
The original name was not the Delcambre Shrimp Festival. The Iberia Parish Shrimp Festival and Agricultural fair held the name title until 1974. It originally started as a festival to help raise money for the Delcambre Fire Department in 1950, since then it has flourished. It is now one of the top ten festivals in Louisiana! The festival is 5 days filled with entertainment, rides, and of course, food.
Shrimp is one of the most versatile foods out there so the options are endless. Shrimp dishes like shrimp sauce piquante, fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, shrimp salad and more! Do not worry if you want to go but aren’t a shrimp person; the festival offers options that are not just shrimp! Tons of delicious complimentary sides are available to purchase, as well as desserts, kid foods, and interesting Louisiana-themed dishes. There is something for every palate and cold drinks are always available.
The 14th, 15th, and 18th dates of the festival require no entry fee. The 16th and 17th there is a $10 entry fee. There is even a bracelet offered for unlimited rides for the festival.
Shrimping has a long history in Louisiana; fishermen have taken advantage of Louisiana’s marshes and estuaries of our coastline since earliest settlement. As the size of the catch increased to meet a growing consumer demand, shrimping emerged as an important folk occupation in Louisiana during the twentieth century.
Two types of fishermen shrimp in coastal Louisiana; those who shrimp with the small vessels in the shallow bays and those with large vessels who shrimp offshore in deeper waters. The inland fishermen operate during seasons regulated by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Often, their crews are family members, and the trip may last for around 1-3 days. Many of the shrimpers who fish seasonally live in settlements along the bayous of south Louisiana and along the lower Mississippi River. Many come from a tradition of fishing and shrimping during the spring, summer and fall months, then oystering and trapping during the winter months. The ranks of shrimpers have increased as others have entered the shrimping industry. Many left city and industrial work, preferring to be their own boss. While traditionally many shrimpers in Louisiana come from a French-speaking background, Chinese, Filipino, Croatian, and Vietnamese immigrants have also entered the South Louisiana fishing industry for their livelihoods. Larger vessels are outfitted to pursue offshore shrimp for extended periods of time and are able to work year round.
While shrimping continues as a way of life for many folks in Louisiana, changes are occurring which will affect the continuity of the shrimping tradition and the availability of shrimp. As a business, shrimping has become much more competitive, with more licenses granted now than several years ago. A steady increase in cheaper, imported shrimp from South America and Southeast Asia has greatly cut into the local fishermen’s market and pollution in the waterways are also taking their toll.
So while shrimping as a way of life and a family tradition is still present in Louisiana, many fishermen are having to relinquish this heritage. One way to support this Louisiana tradition is to opt to purchase gulf shrimp and ask that your local restaurants and grocers purchase their shrimp from local sources.
The 2019 Special Events
2019 Baby Shrimp Pageant
2019 Little & DEB Shrimp
2019 Junior and Teen Shrimp Queen Pageant
2019 Miss Shrimp Queen Pageant
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