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2015 Guide to Louisiana Fairs & Festivals: April 

APRIL

3-5Lao New Year Celebration (Wat Thammarattanaram Temple, 7913 Champa Ave., Broussard, 337-364-3403) Lanexang Village in Broussard celebrates the Lao New Year with a three-day festival featuring live music, a beauty pageant, parades, sand castle building, kids' activities, and vendors selling clothes, jewelry and food from Southeast Asia. Hours vary. Admission free.

4Freret Street Festival (4400-5000 block of Freret Street; www.freretstreetfestival.com) Presented by the Freret Market, the annual event offers live music, food and more than 200 local vendors of art and collectibles. Hours 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission free.

9-12French Quarter Festival (French Quarter, 504-522-5730; www.fqfi.org) This year's festival has almost two dozen stages for music and performances, New Orleans cuisine, children's activities and a film fest. Allen Toussaint is among performers. Hours 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thu. & Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri. & Sat. Admission free.

10Art in April (Downtown Hammond, 985-277-5681; www.dddhammond.com) Hammond's Downtown Development District celebrates its sixth annual Art in April with art exhibits, live music, performance art and more. The traditional wine stroll is one of the event's major highlights. Hours 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Admission free.

10, 17, 24Mandeville Live! (Tammany Trace Trailhead, 675 Lafitte St., Mandeville, www.cityofmandeville.com) See March 13 listing for description.

10-12Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana (NOLA Motorsports Park, 11075 Nicolle Blvd., Avondale, 504-731-7083; www.gpofnola.com) Jefferson Parish hosts the inaugural three-day Grand Prix with IndyCar and other family-friendly events. Races take place on a 2.67-mile circuit equipped with 13 turns and passing zones. Hours vary. Admission $15-$50, $5-$30 for children 12 and under.

10-12Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival (Memorial Park, 301 N. Sixth St., Ponchatoula, 800-917-7045; www.lastrawberryfestival.com) The weekend event offers activities, amusement rides, food booths and plenty of Ponchatoula strawberries. There will be a festival parade, Strawberry Strut 10-K and 1-mile Fun Run races, cooking contests and more. Hours 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Fri., 9:30 a.m.-till Sat., 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun.

11Baton Rouge Blues Festival (St. Philip Street, downtown Baton Rouge; www.batonrougebluesfestival.org) A full slate of blues musicians performs, and there are food and drink vendors, crafts and more. Hours 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Admission  free.

11Spring for Art (320 N. Columbia St., Covington, 985-892-8650; www.sttammanyartassociation.org) Celebrate the end of winter with gallery openings, demonstrations and new works from dozens of local artists. The downtown Covington event also features boutique shopping and dining. Hours 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Admission free.

11-12Art in the Pass (War Memorial Park, Pass Christian, Mississippi, 228-452-3315; www.artinthepass.com) More than 100 artists from 15 states will exhibit at the two-day juried arts festival. The 18th annual festival includes paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, pottery, glass, woodworking and jewelry, as well as free seafood cooking demonstrations, live music and educational events. Hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission free.

11-12New Orleans Spring Garden Show (New Orleans Botanical Garden, City Park, 3 Victory Ave., 504-658-2900; www.neworleanscitypark.com or www.lsuagcenter.com) — The show features dozens of exhibitors offering plants, arts and crafts, children's activities, and gardening and decorating ideas. There also are seminars by experts, children's activities and food vendors. Hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission $8 adults, $4 ages 5-12, free ages 4 and under and Friends of City Park.

11-16Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week (Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park, 300 Fisher Road, Lafayette, 337-234-8360; www.lafolkroots.org) "Balfa Week" is a cultural immersion event that includes classes and workshops led by Louisiana musicians and artists, as well as dances nightly featuring local bands. Hours 8 a.m.-midnight daily. Admisson varies.

16-19Washington Catfish Festival (Washington Festival Grounds, 143 Veterans Memorial Highway, Washington, 337-826-3627) — Live zydeco, Cajun, R&B and blues music are highlights of the 15th annual celebration, which also features a catfish cook-off, arts and crafts, Cajun and Creole cuisine, antiques, exhibits and more. Hours 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Thu., 5 p.m.-midnight Fri., 10 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Sat., 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. Admission free Thu., $10 adults, $5 children 12 and younger Fri.-Sun.

17Concerts in the Courtyard (The Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal St., 504-523-4662; www.hnoc.org) — See March 13 listing for description.

17-18Jazz and R&B Festival (Front Street, Natchitoches; www.natchjazzfest.com) The 20th annual music festival features platinum-selling artists Mitch Ryder, .38 Special, Joey Molland's Badfinger and more. Hours vary. Admission free.

17-19Grand Isle Migratory Bird Celebration (Grand Isle, 985-447-0868; www.grandisle.btnep.org) The Grand Isle Sanctuary Group invites participants to enjoy the annual spring bird migration. There will be birdwatching tours, arts and crafts, games and plenty of family fun. Hours vary. Admission varies.

18-19Angola Prison Spring Rodeo & Craft Show (Louisiana State Penitentiary, 17544 Tunica Trace, Angola, 225-655-2030; www.angolarodeo.com) The best-known rodeo in Louisiana features inmates in wild horse races, cow-milking competitions and bull riding. The Girl's Rodeo Association will be participating in barrel racing, the only non-inmate event. Hours 9 a.m.-close. Admission $15.

18-19Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival (Melrose Plantation, 3533 Highway 119, 318-581-8052; www.melroseplantation.org) The 41st annual festival features more than 100 vendors offering paintings, stained glass, gourmet foods, jewelry, clothing, wooden items, pottery and more. Gates open at 10 a.m. Admission $5, $3 children 6-12, free for kids 5 and under.

22-26Festival International de Louisiane (Downtown Lafayette, 337-232-8086; www.festivalinternational.org) The festival features a variety of local, international and emerging musicians, theater performances, workshops, arts and crafts, family-oriented activities and more. Admission free.

23 & 27-29Factory Fest (Louisiana Music Factory, 421 Frenchmen St., 504-586-1094; www.louisianamusicfactory.com) The Frenchmen Street store stages live music performances featuring New Orleans bands. Hours 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission free.

24Zoo-To-Do for Kids (Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 504-861-6160; www.auduboninstitute.org/ztdk) The fundraising party is for kids and features food, live music, crafts, games, face painters and inflatable structures. Hours 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Admission $25, $20 members; $40 early admission.

24-26The Italian Festival (Highway 61 near City Hall, Tickfaw, 985-974-0565; www.italianfestivalorg.com) The three-day festival features family-friendly entertainment, food, a spaghetti cookoff, beauty pageant, carnival rides, parade and more. Hours 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. Admission free.

24-26Etouffee Festival (St. John Francis Regis Church, 370 Main St., Arnaudville, 337-754-5912; www.johnfrancisregis.net) The festival features an etouffee cook-off, carnival rides, bingo and crafts. Live entertainment includes perfomances by Krossfyre, Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie and more. Hours 5 p.m.-midnight Fri., 11 a.m.-midnight Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. Admission free.

24-26, 30-May 3New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots, 1751 Gentilly Blvd., 504-410-4100; www.nojazzfest.com) The internationally acclaimed annual festival features performances by Elton John, Keith Urban, Lenny Kravitz, No Doubt, Alison Krauss, Widespread Panic, The Who, Chicago, Steve Winwood, John Legend, Jimmy Buffett, Tony Bennett and others. There also are kids' activities, arts and crafts areas, food and drink vendors and more. Hours 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Admission $58 in advance, $70 at the gate, $5 children 2-10 (at the gate only).

24-26St. Joan of Arc Fair Deaux Deaux (529 W. 5th St., LaPlace, 985-652-9100; www.sjachurch.com) The festival features carnival rides, food stands, raffles, auctions and more. There will be a talent show along with live musical performances from local entertainers. Hours 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. Admission free.

28-May 10Contraband Days (Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, 337-436-5508; www.contrabanddays.com) The pirate festival features 100 events over a two-week period, including live music, enactments, fireworks, walking parades, arts and crafts and carnival rides. Hours vary. Admission $5 per day, $15 complete pass, free for children 5 and under.



MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER | NOVEMBER | DECEMBER

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