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Gambit’s 2016 Louisiana Fairs & Festivals: April 

click to enlarge Natalie Waters goes birding during the Grand Isle Migratory Bird Celebration, scheduled for April.

Photo by Cliff Waters

Natalie Waters goes birding during the Grand Isle Migratory Bird Celebration, scheduled for April.

1 & 15—Crawfish Boil on the Lake (Treasure Chest Casino, 5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 504-443-8000; —This series of free concerts on the front lawn of Treasure Chest Casino features a band a week: Four Unplugged, Groovy 7 and Category 6. There's lots of crawfish for sale. 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m..

Thru May 1—Chinese Lantern Festival (City Park, New Orleans Botanical Garden, 5 Victory Ave., 504-482-4888; — More than 100 lanterns and 30 brightly colored lighted silk-covered structures created by artisans from Zigong, China, fill the garden. Chinese-inspired cuisine available. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Sun. & Tue.-Thu., 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Admission $18, $12 kids ages 3-12, free for kids 3 and under.

1-2—Hogs for the Cause (New Orleans City Park, 1 Palm Drive; ­— The annual event features live bands, local food and more than 95 teams competing for the title of Louisiana Pork Champion. Shovels & Rope, Deer Tick and other bands perform. Proceeds benefit pediatric brain cancer services. 3 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat. Admission $25 per day, $40 two-day pass, free for children under 12.

1-2—Parks Cracklin' Cook-Off (Cecile Rousseau Poche Memorial Park, 103 Periou St., Parks; — The event combines a two-day cooking contest with live music, family activities and art scholarship awards. 6 p.m.-midnight Fri., 10 a.m.-midnight Sat. Free.

1-3—Festa Italiana (Rivertown, 405 Williams Blvd. at the Mississippi River, Kenner, 504-830-3720; — The annual Italian heritage festival features live music, an arts and crafts market, St. Joseph's altar, Italian food and drink area and kids' activities. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Fri., noon-10 p.m. Sat., noon-6 p.m. Sun. Admission $5, free ages 12 and younger.

1-3—Jackson Assembly Antiques and Art Show (Charter Street, downtown Jackson, Louisiana, 225-634-7155; — The annual invitational show features sales of works by regional artists, tours of historic buildings, a candy counter and antiques and collectibles dealers offering tools, furniture, books, linens, rugs, silver, glass, porcelain, estate jewelry, plants and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. Admission $10, good for all three days.

1-3—Kite Fest Louisiane (West Baton Rouge Soccer Complex, 3383 Rosedale Road, Port Allen, 225-344-2920; — Professional kite teams perform at the 12th annual event, and there is kite flying for visitors, live music and kite-making for kids. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-7:30p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. Free.

1-3—Louisiana Crawfish Festival (St. Bernard Government Complex, 8200 W. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette; — The festival offers 30,000 pounds of boiled crawfish and dishes like crawfish bread, crawfish pasta and crawfish jambalaya. The event includes local bands, amusement rides and arts and crafts. 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Thu., 5 p.m.-midnight Fri., 11 a.m.-midnight Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. Admission $5, free for children under 48 inches tall.

1-3—Paddle Bayou Lafourche (Donaldsonville to Lockport, Bayou Lafourche, 985-447-0868; — Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program hosts a four-day, 52-mile paddling trip down the bayou. Participants can do one day or all four and will experience the area's food and music along the way. Pre-registration required. Admission with your own canoe $40 per day, $150 four days; with canoe rental $60 per day, $225 for four days.

1-3—Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival — (Various locations in the French Quarter; — The 30th annual festival honors the playwright's works and life in the city and features theatrical, literary and cultural offerings including master classes, panels, food, music and writing com- petitions. Hours and admis- sion vary.

2—Big Bass Rodeo (New Orleans City Park, 56 Dreyfous Drive, 504-482-4888; — The 69th annual freshwater rodeo includes fishing from the banks and from non-motorized vessels on the bayou. New this year is a high school competition. The free "Fishtival" showcases fishing tackle, exhibits and fishing-related vendors. 6 a.m.-noon. Registration $10, $5 for kids under 12; $15 for boats.

2—Freret Street Festival (4400-5100 blocks of Freret Street; — Presented by the Freret Market, the annual event offers live music, food, a kids' area and more than 200 vendors of art and collectibles. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free.

2-3—Art in the Pass (War Memorial Park, Pass Christian, Mississippi, 228-452-5969; — The annual art festival in Pass Christian, Mississippi overlooks the Gulf of Mexico and features arts and crafts from more than 100 artists from 14 states, as well as food and drinks. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free.

2-3—FestForAll (North Boulevard Town Square, Baton Rouge, 225-344-8558; — The art and music festival features more than 100 visual artists and master craft artisans in a juried show and market. There's also live music in a variety of genres. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat., noon-6 p.m. Sun. Free.

2-3—Food Fest (New Orleans Riverwalk's Spanish Plaza; 504-888-7608; — The food festival features vendors from more than 50 restaurants from all over the country with dishes from their native cuisines. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Free.

2-3—Spring Garden Show (New Orleans Botanical Garden, City Park, 3 Victory Ave., 504-483-9473; — The show features dozens of exhibitors offering plants, arts and crafts, children's activities, and gardening and decorating ideas. There also are seminars and children's activities. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. Admission $8 adults, $4 ages 5-12, free for ages 5 and under and Friends of City Park members.

3—Brunch Fest (New Orleans City Park, 1 Collins Diboll Circle, 504-368-5191; — The inaugural festival is a family- and pet-friendly event featuring live music, brunch cocktails, food vendors and a bloody mary contest. Proceeds benefit the LA/SPCA. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free.

3, 10 & 17—Music Under the Oaks (Audubon Park, Newman Bandstand, 6500 Magazine St., 504-581-4629; — The concert series includes performances by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra Brass Quintet, Loyola College of Music and the New Orleans Concert Band. Food and drinks are available. 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Free.

Wednesdays-May 18—Wednesday at the Square (Lafayette Square, 500 block of St. Charles Avenue, 504-585-1500; — The Wednesday evening concert series features New Orleans musicians, food, drinks and arts and crafts. Proceeds benefit the Young Leadership Council. 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Free.

6-10—A Taste of Covington (Various locations in Covington, 504-439-2543; — The five-day food and wine event features vintner's dinners, a grand tasting, a jazz brunch and the annual Spring for Art block party in downtown Covington. Hours and admission vary.

Thursdays-21—Thursdays at Twilight (Botanical Garden's Pavilion of the Two Sisters, City Park, 5 Victory Ave., 504-483-9488; — The weekly concert series features music ranging from Motown to jazz, with a different musician or group each week. 6 p.m. Admission $10 adults, $3 ages 5-12.

7-10—French Quarter Festival (French Quarter, 504-522-5730; — The festival has 23 stages for music and performances, New Orleans cuisine, children's activities and a film fest. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thu. & Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Free.

8-10—Cajun Hot Sauce Festival (SugArena, New Iberia, 337-365-7539; — The family-friendly festival has hot-sauce competitions, jambalaya cook-offs, live music, a food court, crafts and more. 6 p.m.-midnight Fri., 4 p.m.-midnight Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. Admission $10 Fri.-Sat., $5 Sun., free for kids 12 and younger.

8-10—Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival (Memorial Park, 301 N. Sixth St., Ponchatoula, 800-917-7045; — The weekend festival offers live music, amusement rides, food booths and plenty of Ponchatoula strawberries. There's a festival parade, cooking contests and a Strawberry Strut 5k, 10k and 1-mile fun run races. Noon-10:30 p.m. Fri., 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sat., noon-6 p.m. Sun. Free.

9—Bursting with Speed (Bucktown Lakefront, Metairie, 504-304-2326; — The New Orleans Track Club hosts a 5K and half-mile run to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 8 a.m. Admission $25-$30.

9—Spring for Art (320 N. Columbia St., Covington, 985-892-8650; — The spring art event includes gallery openings, demonstrations, new works from dozens of local artists, boutique shopping and dining. Hours 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Free.

9-10—Baton Rouge Blues Festival (South River Road, downtown Baton Rouge; — A slate of blues musicians performs at the 22nd annual festival. There are food and drink vendors, arts and crafts and more. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Free.

9-14—Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week (Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park, 300 Fisher Road, Lafayette, 337-234-8360; — Balfa Week is an annual event featuring classes and workshops taught by Louisiana musicians. In the evenings, there are dances with Cajun and zydeco bands. Hours vary. Admission $10 per day for evening dances; Cost of workshops and classes vary.

10–Allons Manger Food Festival (St. Jules Catholic Church, 7161 Highway 1, Belle Rose, 225-473-8569; — The annual festival celebrates Cajun food with crawfish, oysters, turtle, shrimp and fish dishes, live entertainment, children's activities and an auction. 10 a.m.-till. Free.

10—Festival of Balloons (Hilton Riverside, 2 Poydras St.; — The festival showcases elaborate displays by international balloon artists. 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Admission $10, free for kids under 12.

14-16—Great Southern Bluegrass Event (Great Southern RV Park, 30338 Highway 21, Angie, 985-516-4680; — The festival features bluegrass acts performing indoors. 1:30 p.m.-till Thu., 12:30 p.m.-till Fri.-Sat. Admission $20 per day Thu.-Sat., $55 weekend pass, free for children 12 and under.

14-17—Louisiana International Film Festival (Cinemark Perkins Rowe, 10000 Perkins Rowe, Suite 125, 225-761-7844, Baton Rouge; — The film festival showcases indigenous filmmakers and musicians of Louisiana. Hours vary. Admission $10 per movie, $20 unlimited student pass, $125 all-access pass.

15—Concerts In the Courtyard (The Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal St., 504-523-4662; — The spring monthly concert series showcases Louisiana musicians including Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Sweet Crude, Colin Lake Band and Roddie Romero. Ticket includes three complimentary beverages (beer and wine). 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Admission $10, free for THNOC members.

15-16—Natchitoches Jazz and R&B Festival (100 Rue Beaufort, Natchitoches; — The music festival features Lainey Wilson, Wayne Toups, Grand Funk Railroad and other music groups. 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Fri., 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sat. Tickets $12-$25 advance weekend passes; $10-$15 at the gate, free for kids 12 and under.

15-17—Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival (Main Street, Franklin, 337-940-1156; — Celebrating the Louisiana black bear, the festival features an art exhibit and sale, seminars, children's activities, field trips, food vendors, live music and fireworks on Saturday. 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. Free.

15-17—Cajun Festival (Visitation of Our Lady Roman Catholic Church, 3500 Ames Blvd., Marrero, 504-347-2203; — The festival includes live music, food vendors, games, a silent auction, 5k run/walk and a road race. 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-11 p.m Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. Admission TBA.

15-17—Grand Isle Migratory Bird Celebration (Grand Isle, 985-447-0868; — The Grand Isle Sanctuary Group celebrates the annual spring bird migration with birdwatching tours, arts and crafts, games and family-oriented activities. Hours vary. Admission varies.

15-17—Great Louisiana Birdfest (Various locations on the Northshore, 985-626-1238; — The 20th annual event is timed to coincide with the migration of numerous bird species through Louisiana. Hours vary. Admission $20-$45 per event.

15-17—Le Feu et L'Eau (Fire and Water) Festival (NUNU Arts and Culture Collective, 1510 Bayou Courtableau Highway, Arnaudville, 337-453-3307; — The two-day rural arts celebration showcases French culture and creative talent in Acadiana, including visual artists, performers and cultural workers. There are poetry readings, cooking demonstrations, documentaries, local food and live music. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Free.

15-17—New Orleans Poetry Festival (Arts Estuary, 1024 Elysian Fields Ave.; — The inaugural poetry festival features national and international poets, readings, panels and author events at varied locations. Hours TBA. Admission $150 all-inclusive pass, $60 students, $25 individual events.

16-17—Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival (Melrose Plantation, 3533 Highway 119, Melrose, 318-379-0055; — More than 100 artists and craftspeople display and sell their work in the gardens of the 1800s plantation. Hours TBA. Admission $5, $2 for kids 6-12, free for ages 5 and under.

17—A Run Through History (Metairie Cemetery, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd., 504-486-6331; — The 15th annual 1-mile and 5K run/walk benefits Save Our Cemeteries. 7:30 a.m. Admission $20-$25.

17—Pinch A Palooza Festival (1713 Lake Ave., Metairie, 504-835-4638; — The seventh annual festival features a free street party, more than 5,000 pounds of boiled Louisiana crawfish and a variety of specialty mudbug dishes, a crawfish-eating contest, crawfish races, children's activities, live music and performances by the 610 Stompers dance group and Big Chief Romeo Bougere & the Ninth Ward Hunters. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Free.

20-24—Festival International de Louisiane (Downtown Lafayette, 337-232-8086; — The 30th annual festival features a variety of local, international and emerging musicians, theater performances, workshops, arts and crafts and family-oriented activities. Hours TBA. Free.

click to enlarge Curley Taylor is among Cajun and swamp pop musicians scheduled to perform at the 10th annual Music & Market for Louisiana products in Opelousas in April.
  • Curley Taylor is among Cajun and swamp pop musicians scheduled to perform at the 10th annual Music & Market for Louisiana products in Opelousas in April.

22 & 29—Music & Market (Opelousas Tourist Center, 828 E. Landry St., Opelousas, 337-948-6263; — The 10-year-old event offers Louisiana products for sale from farmers and producers and live music ranging from Cajun to swamp pop. 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Free.

22—St. Joan of Arc Spring Fair (St. Joan of Arc Church, 529 W. 5th St., LaPlace, 985-652-9100; — The festival features carnival rides, games, food vendors, live music, a silent auction and a crawfish boil. 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. Free.

22-24—Etouffee Festival (St. John Francis Regis Church, 370 Main St., Arnaudville, 337-754-5912; — The 30th annual festival features an etouffee cook-off, carnival rides, games and crafts. Live entertainment includes performances by Chubby Carrier, Geno Delafose and Wayne Toups. 5 p.m.-midnight Fri., 11 a.m.-midnight Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. Free.

22-24—The Italian Festival (50081 Highway 51, Tickfaw, 985-974-0565; — The three-day festival features family-friendly entertainment, live music, food, a spaghetti cook-off, beauty pageant, carnival rides and a parade. 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. Free.

22-24, 28-May 1—New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots, 1751 Gentilly Blvd., 504-410-4100; — The internationally acclaimed annual festival features performances by Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Van Morrison, Snoop Dogg, Neil Young, Flo Rida, My Morning Jacket, Bonnie Raitt, Maxwell, Janelle Monae and others. There are kids' activities, heritage demonstrations, an arts market, crafts areas and food and drink vendors. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Admission $65 in advance, $75 at the gate, $5 children 2-10 (at the gate only).

25-27—NOLA Crawfish Festival (NOLA Brewery & Tap Room, 3001 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-301-0117; — The inaugural festival celebrates a New Orleans trifecta of funk music, boiled crawfish and local beer. 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Admission $45 one-day pass, $125 three-day pass.

28-May 1—Thibodaux Firemen's Fair and Parade (1101 Tiger Drive, Thibodaux; — The 133rd annual event offers live music, food, carnival rides, games, children's activities, a parade on Sunday, an auction and $10,000 raffle. 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Thu., 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. Free.

29—Zoo-to-Do for Kids (Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 504-861-6160; — The fundraising party for kids features food, live music, crafts, games, face painting and inflatable structures. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Admission $25, $20 zoo members; $40 early admission.

29-May 1—Festival in the Park (Cassidy Park, 129 Ben Miller Drive, Bogalusa, 985-735-5731) — The festival has live music, beauty pageants, a duck race, children's games, arts and crafts and food vendors. Noon-9 p.m. Fri., 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun. Free.

30—Big Easy, Big Heart 5K & Fest Experience (French Quarter, 504-523-2116; — The 5K and 1-mile "fest experience" runs benefit the New Orleans Mission. The after-party is at Hard Rock Cafe. 8 a.m. Admission $25-40.

March | April | May
June | July | August
September | October
November | December


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