In times like these, with the economy tanked and gas prices high, Louisianians should be extra thankful we live in a state where celebrations showcasing our food, music, history, heritage and just plain quirkiness are on the calendar almost every week. You can learn about a variety of cultures, sample exotic foods, drink in the beauty of nature and take in new experiences without boarding a plane, crossing an ocean or cleaning out your wallet. There are plenty of fairs, festivals and special events that require only a day trip or a weekend to fully enjoy. Plus, Louisiana's people have a joie de vivre that is infectious and they love to share their traditions, talents and specialties with anyone who cares to pass a good time. Here are some ideas for making the rest of your year like a vacation.
All month — Celebration in the Oaks, New Orleans (City Park, 483-9415; www.neworleanscitypark.com)
All month — Noel Acadien au Village, Lafayette (Acadian Village, 200 Greenleaf Drive, 337-981-2364; www.acadianvillage.org)
24 — Christmas Eve Bonfires on the Levee, Lutcher/Gramercy (Various locations, 800-367-7852; www.stjamesparish.com)