Festivals provide a variety of sights, sounds, tastes, activities and opportunities for your children to learn about Louisiana's culture all in one place, often for a low — or free — admission price. Here are some suggestions for spring and summer outings, all within about a 90-minute drive of metro New Orleans.
Kite Fest Louisiane
West Baton Rouge Soccer Complex, 3383 Rosedale Road, Port Allen, (225) 344-2920; www.westbatonrouge.net
Trip notes: 84 miles, 90 minutes drive time
Because it's the only kite festival in Louisiana, the event provides a rare opportunity to see professional kite teams from across the U.S. perform kite choreography in the skies above the festival grounds. Visitors can build and fly a kite. There also are children's activities, live music, food vendors and a fireworks display. Hours 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission free.
Spring Fair Deaux Deaux
St. Joan of Arc Church and School, 529 W. Fifth St., LaPlace, (985) 652-9100; www.sjachurch.com
Trip notes: 28 miles, 34 minutes drive time
Church and school fairs can be a safe and comfortable place to take your kids, and this three-day "fair" has morphed into a three-day citywide festival featuring live music, carnival rides, games, a kids' stage, and food vendors. Hours 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 1 p.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. Admission free.
Plaquemines Parish Seafood Festival
225 F. Edward Hebert Blvd., Belle Chasse, 504-394-6328; www.plaqueminesparishfestival.com
Trip notes: 12 miles, 25 minutes drive time
A quick hop to the West Bank and Belle Chasse will get you to the festival, where you can take a helicopter ride over the river, dance to Rockin' Dopsie, Dash Rip Rock and other bands, eat lots of Louisiana seafood and explore the carnival rides along the midway. There's also a car show and an oyster drop.
Irma Boulevard, Gonzales, (225) 647-2937; www.jambalayafestival.org
Trip notes: 59 miles, 60 minutes drive time
The big draws to this festival are the food — the event features jambalaya cooking contests — and about 20 bands performing live. There's also a car show and carnival rides. Hours and admission TBA.
Louisiana Catfish Festival
St. Gertrude the Great Catholic Church, 17324 Highway 631, Des Allemands, (985) 758-7542; www.louisianacatfishfestival.com
Trip notes: 34 miles, 37 minutes drive time
Besides the opportunity to sample catfish and other seafood prepared lots of different ways, the festival has live music, midway rides, children's games, a plant booth, raffles, arts and crafts and more. Hours 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. Admission free.