A Guide to Louisiana’s Crawfish Festivals

It’s crawfish season in Louisiana, and festival season also. That can only mean one thing, crawfish festivals!

Crawfish are an important part of Louisiana State’s identity, economy, and cuisine. This red crustacean is found in both Creole and Cajun dishes throughout Louisiana and is cooked in every possible way imaginable.

In fact, the most commonly asked question in Louisiana from visitors is “When is crawfish season?”

The importance of the crawfish is first seen in the Houma Indian tribe, where the crawfish was used as its emblem for hundreds of years. In the 1800s, lobster recipes brought by Cajun settlers from their Canadian roots were substituted with crawfish. Then, Creole restaurant entrepreneurs realized how delicious and accessible crawfish was, and it’s been an important part of Louisiana culture and cuisine ever since!

What makes crawfish an even bigger commodity is the fact that it’s seasonal. Prime time for crawfish falls from February to mid-May. For many Louisiana residents, crawfish is the marker for an upcoming spring.

In honor of crawfish season and the fact that Louisianians have a festival for everything, here’s a guide to the best Louisiana Crawfish festivals you don’t want to miss.

Louisiana Crawfish Festival

This festival is from March 26th to the 29th in Chalmette. St. Bernard Parish is one of the most seafood-centric regions in Louisiana. Most of this is due to a commercial fishing industry that has been thriving for decades. Head to this fest for every imaginable recipe of crawfish, good Cajun music, arts and crafts, and pageants.

The Original Downtown Lake Charles Crawfish Festival

This three say party occurs on April 17-18 in Lake Charles. Although it’s called a crawfish festival, expect a celebration that focuses on all the awesome things St. Charles has to offer. You’ll find pageants, live music, local crafts, and carnival rides.

Slidell’s Annual Crawfish Cook-Off

The largest one day event on the Northshore, this festival is on April 18 in Slidell. This festival hosts a healthy competition that has more than 60 teams cooking for the title of Best Crawfish in St. Tammany Parish. Plan for large crowds, great music from well known artists, and a special kids zone for kids 12 and under.

Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival

The first weekend of May each year (May 1-3 this year), this huge festival is hosted in Breaux Bridge. With over 30,000 visitors flocking to Cajun Country, Breaux Bridge was named the Crawfish Capital of the World in 1959, and the festival followed suit in 1960. The festival embodies Cajun culture with authentic music and food.

Curious about other festivals in Louisiana? Click herefor a complete list.

Want to find crawfish without the crowds? Head to one of these restaurants for a delicious crawfish meal:

If you’re interested in the history of crawfish, Jeff Davis Parish offers crawfish farm toursthat show visitors a glimpse into crawfish ecology and the business.

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5 Gumbo Festivals in Louisiana You Won’t Want To Miss

Gumbo and Louisiana have gone together since the beginning of time, it seems. So, it’s only natural that the great state of Louisiana be home to several Gumbo Festivals!

Gumbo, a southern Louisiana classic, is a thick stew-like soup filled with meat or seafood, okra, and Creole and Cajun seasonings. This dish dates back as far as the beginning of the 19th century, but it’s unsure where it originated. Some say it’s roots belong to the Choctaw, others claim it’s a West African dish, and others credit the French. Regardless, this dish is a treasured part of Louisiana history.

Every October and November, hundreds of thousands of Louisianians participate in making and tasting gumbo, coming together as a community to celebrate the rich and unique culture that has been cultivated over time. It’s festivals like these that make Louisiana such a unique state, and there’s nowhere else in the world you could find such trademark gumbo in such delicious capacities than at one of these festivals.

Louisiana Travel put together a list of five gumbo festivals every Louisianian should taste!

Louisiana Gumbo Festival

Located in Chackbay, the “Gumbo Capital of Louisiana”, this festival has been an on-going October fest for more than 45 years. With volunteers cooking over 500 gallons of gumbo, jambalaya, and other Cajun specialites, you can get your fill of this Louisiana classic and then grab a partner and dance to the live music that’s there every day.

Bridge City Gumbo Festival

Having grown into one of the New Orleans area’s premiere food events, this festival in Bridge City brings in over 60,000 attendees every October. See the intense competition between who makes the best gumbo and enjoy a weekend filled with delicious food (and get to meet some of the best chefs in New Orleans!).

World Championship Gumbo Cookoff

In this two- day festival in New Iberia, over 100 teams of gumbo professionals cook up their best gumbo recipes from scratch in hopes of winning ultimate gumbo champion. What’s unique about this festival is that everything from the roux to the rice is prepared on site and fresh to the taste.

South Louisiana Blackpot Festival & Cookoff

Check out Lafayette’s cajun roots at the Blackpot festival. Although it’s one of the newer gumbo festivals, it’s also the biggest, with gravy, gumbo, cracklins, jambalaya, and dessert competitions, a massive music selection with square dance groups and string bands, and see some of the best bands in the world like The Pine Leaf Boys and Cedric Watson. You can even camp out on site to make sure you don’t miss any of the good stuff!

Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival

The only festival in November, the month of perfect gumbo weather, this free festival satisfies every diet, with Creole, Cajun, and vegan gumbo. So grab a bowl and sit back to listen to some of New Orleans’ best brass bands.

So for a true Louisiana experience, make sure to hit one of these fall festivals (and your sweet spot),eat more gumbo than you’ve ever dreamed, and experience Louisiana at its greatest!

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Experience Top Louisiana Festivals

Louisiana is well-known for its food, music, and the culture. But did you know that The Pelican State has numerous festivals throughout the year celebrating those very things? If you’re looking for a good time in Sportsman’s Paradise, try one of these Louisiana festivals!

Festival International de Louisiane

Festival International de Louisiane is one of the most popular festivals in the state of Louisiana. Hosted every year in Lafayette, Festival International in five days of culture and fun. Every April, downtown Lafayette becomes the home of international music. The festival boasts seven music stages in addition to street musicians, paintings, drawings, and boutiques. The festival is the largest international music and arts festival in the United States. The main purpose of the festival is to bring the gap between Acadiana and its roots in the French-speaking world. Over 20 countries are represented during the festival, which is about to mark its 34th year anniversary!

Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival

In 1959, the Louisiana Legislature named Breaux Bridge, Louisiana the Crawfish Capital of the World. In 1960, as a spin off of the Breaux Bridge Centennial Celebration, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival was born. The festival is now known as one of the largest gatherings of Cajun musicians in the world. The Crawfish Festival takes place during the first weekend of May every year. Over 30 bands play each year! If you’re lucky, you may even win the zydeco dance contest. If you’ve never had crawfish etouffee, don’t fret. There’s a cook-off each year!

International Rice Festival

With its home in Crowley, Louisiana, the International Rice Festival is one of the oldest festivals in the state. The first festival was on October 5, 1937 and since then over seven million people have flocked to Crowley to attend. The festival is held in Downtown Crowley and highlights the importance of rice not only as a food, but also as a staple in the world’s economy. Each year the festival holds two parades: the Children’s Parade on Friday and the Grand Parade on Saturday. Other events include a Rice Cooking Contest and a Rice Eating Contest, a frog derby, and a queen’s pageant.

Christmas Festival of Lights

The Christmas Festival of Lights takes place in the oldest permanent settlement in Louisiana- Natchitoches. The Festival of Lights has been a Natchitoches tradition since 1927 and is one of the oldest community holiday celebrations in the United States. The Festival began as a one day event and have transformed into six-week long celebration. The Natchitoches Christmas Season begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving and ends on January 6th. Each year consists of over 300,000 lights and over one hundred set pieces that are on display every night.

Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival

Located in Bogalusa, Louisiana, this Louisiana Festival is one that should not be missed. The Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival is the youngest festival on the list. The Blues & Heritage Festival was born in 2011 and quickly became one of the largest and most popular festivals in Louisiana. The first festival was held in 2012 and was declared the New Event of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals. The festival is held every September with music, lodging, food, and crafts.

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9 Louisiana Festivals to Visit this Fall

Louisiana Festivals are something that take place almost year-round. No matter what city you go to, there is always something to celebrate. Our rich culture and extensive history mixed with our love for food and celebration is the perfect combination of all things festival. This article, written by onlyinyourstate.com, highlights some of the most visited and exciting Louisiana Festivals you won’t want to miss out on this fall. From the Alligator Festival in Luling, Louisiana to the Highland Jazz and Blues festival in Shreveport, LA, these festivals are well worth the drive, even if it’s just for the food.

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