Houma, Louisiana recently witnessed a howling good time as the 12th annual Rougarou Fest took center stage, offering a captivating blend of tricks, treats, and high-flying adventure. The festival spanned an entire weekend, captivating attendees from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. This enchanting event unfolded in the vicinity of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, The Courtyard Marriot, and the Terrebonne Parish Library Main Branch. According to this article from Houma Today, Rougarou Fest is a unique celebration that has become a hallmark of the Houma community and a key fundraiser for the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center.
The notion of a howl-off, a contest where participants unleash their most spine-tingling howls, was sparked by the festival’s poster art, according to Jonathan Foret, the festival’s founder. He revealed, “The Rougarou howling is sort of the inspiration of, ‘Let’s do a howling contest.’ I can’t believe it took me 12 years to come to that one.” The howl-off took place on Friday evening at 8 p.m., with participants vying for the coveted first, second, and third-place titles in both the adult and children’s categories, each receiving a prestigious medal.
Adding to the festive ambiance, trick-or-treating was scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, offering kids a chance to don their spookiest costumes and collect delectable goodies. But that’s not all. The event also promised an exhilarating adventure with hot air balloon rides available on both Friday and Saturday, running from 5 to 9 p.m. on both days. The festival’s diverse array of events and their respective timings can be found in detail on the official Rougarou Fest website, offering visitors a comprehensive schedule to plan their visit accordingly.
Rougarou Fest began its journey in 2012, serving as the primary annual fundraiser for the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center in Houma. Named after the legendary bayou werewolf, the festival is an ode to the rich folklore that thrives along the bayous of Southeast Louisiana. Over the years, it has evolved into a grand celebration, featuring a mesmerizing parade, a highly competitive costume contest, Cajun culinary delights, and enlightening discussions on local folklore, all accompanied by fascinating exhibits.
The South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, the beneficiary of the festival’s proceeds, is a non-profit organization dedicated to revolutionizing how we perceive, educate, and learn about the disappearing coastal regions of Louisiana. It stands as a testament to the collective efforts of the community to conserve and protect these precious wetlands.
Rougarou Fest’s outstanding contributions to the local culture and its commitment to environmental awareness have earned it recognition on various platforms. In 2014, USA Today ranked it as one of the Top 10 Costume Parties in the United States. In 2015 and 2019, the Southeast Tourism Society acknowledged it as one of the Top 20 Events among 11 states for the month of October. Further, the festival received the title of Best New Event in the state of Louisiana in 2015, as awarded by the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals. And most recently, in 2020 and 2023, the Louisiana Travel Association bestowed upon it the esteemed honor of being the Festival of the Year.
In summary, Rougarou Fest is an enchanting celebration that brings the vibrant folklore of Louisiana’s bayous to life. With thrilling howl-offs, hot air balloon rides, and delightful trick-or-treating, this event is a true testament to the region’s cultural richness and its dedication to preserving the invaluable wetlands. It’s no wonder that Rougarou Fest has garnered accolades and has become a beloved tradition in the hearts of the Houma community.
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