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Gambit's 2018 guide to Louisiana fairs and festivals: April 

click to enlarge An elephant gets into the spirit at the Asian Heritage Festival at the Audubon Zoo in April.

An elephant gets into the spirit at the Asian Heritage Festival at the Audubon Zoo in April.

Wednesdays-May 30
YLC Wednesday at the Square — See March listing for event description.

Cycle Zydeco (413 Coolidge St., Lafayette, 337-781-9416; — The cycling festival is a four-day touring ride in south Louisiana. There's Cajun food, live music by Chubby Carrier, Rockin' Dopsie Jr. and Nathan Williams. The main ride routes range from 40 to 62 miles long and all routes include opportunities for brewery tours, swamp tours and more. Hours vary. Admission varies.

Thursdays-April 26
Thursdays at Twilight concert series — See March listing for event description.

Paddle Bayou Lafourche (Bayou Lafourche, from Donaldsonville to Lockport, 985-447-0868; — Organized by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program to educate residents about the ecology of Bayou Lafourche, the 52-mile, four-day paddling trip begins in Donaldsonville on Thursday and ends in Lockport on Sunday. Boaters can participate in some or all of the days, and non-boaters can watch from the bank. There's overnight camping, with live music, local food and more. Pre-registration required. $50 per day, $175 for all days.

Parks Cracklin' Cook-Off (Cecile Rousseau Poche Memorial Park, 103 Periou St., Parks; — There's a poker run, $5,000 raffle, live music by Cory Ledet & his Zydeco Band, Louisiana Gold, Amie Nicole & Zydeco Soul and others, a cracklings cook-off and more. 6 p.m.-midnight Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday. Free.

Kite Fest Louisiane (3383 Rosedale Road, Port Allen, 225-344-2920; — Professional and amateur kite fliers will put their crafts in the sky during the two-day event, which includes indoor kite flying, precision team kite flying, Louisiana food vendors, inflatable structures, face painting, and kite-making workshops. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Free.

Scott Boudin Festival (125 Lions Club St., Scott, 337-233-1130; — The music lineup includes Keith Frank & the Soileau Zydeco Band, Chris Ardoin, Lil Nate and others. There also are arts and crafts, a queen pageant, a boudin-eating contest, carnival rides and other activities. 5:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. $5 Friday-Saturday, kids 5 and younger free. Free Sunday.

6 & 21
Friday Nites on the Square — See March 23 listing for event description.

Westwego Farmers Market Friday Night Concert Series (484 Sala Ave., Westwego, 504-341-9083; — Aaron Foret performs at the outdoor concert, which also features food, drinks, crafts and more. 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Free.

Delgado Music Fest (Delgado Community College, 615 City Park Ave.; — Artists performing at the two-day festival include Ellis Marsalis, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Brass-A-Holics and Honey Island Swamp Band. There also are master classes, a songwriting contest and vendors. Times to be determined. Free.

Books Along the Teche Literary Festival (Various locations in New Iberia; — Based on author James Lee Burke's fictional character Detective Dave Robicheaux, the festival celebrates the sights, sounds, tastes and places Robicheaux experienced. There are seminars and speakers. Times and admissions vary.

Fossil Free Fest (Various locations in New Orleans; — The festival features art, music, food, roundtable discussions and more. Times and admission to be determined.

Asian Heritage Festival (Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 504-417-3282; — The Asian Pacific American Society hosts the daylong festival, which includes cultural performances, dancing, singing, Asian foods, arts and crafts and a children's tent. 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Free with regular zoo admission ($22.95 adults, $19.95 seniors, $17.95 children 2-12).

Celebrate the Gulf Marine Education Festival (War Memorial Park, Fleitas Avenue at Davis Street, Pass Christian, Mississippi, 228-374-5000; — There's a junior fishing rodeo, schooner rides, hands-on activities and more than two dozen exhibits relating to aquatic and coastal resources. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free.

Freret Street Festival (Freret Street from Napoleon Avenue to Valmont Street) — There are three stages of live music, food courts and more than 200 vendors offering a range of products from clothing to art. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free.

Louisiana Crawfish Boil Championships (Immaculate Conception School, 601 Avenue C, Marrero; — Fifty cooking teams will boil more than 20,000 pounds of mudbugs for festival attendees to eat. There also are carnival rides, live music by The Joey Thomas Band, Bucktown All-Stars and Ka-Nection, as well as a ticket draw-down for $10,000. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. $25, $10 ages 13-17, free for children 12 and younger.

Railroad Festival (Downtown Ruston; — More than 100 craftspeople will display works at the Fire Station. There's live music at Railroad Park and food trucks. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (art show), 3 p.m.-9 p.m. (music). $5 music festival, free for other events.

Wanderlust 108 New Orleans (New Orleans City Park Festival Grounds, 4 Friedrichs Ave.; — There's a 5K run, a group flow yoga class and meditation session at the mindfulness- focused event, which also features sessions in hula hooping, essential oils, aerial yoga, acroyoga, tarot and bodywork. 7 a.m.-2 p.m. $20-$150.

Art in the Pass (War Memorial Park, East Scenic Drive, Pass Christian, Mississippi, 228-452-3315; — More than 100 artists from 16 states will sell their arts and crafts at the two-day juried event overlooking Gulf beaches. There are paintings, sculpture, photography, pottery, jewelry and more. There also is live music, food vendors, and the concurrent Gulf Marine Education Festival offers 25 exhibits related to preservation and conservation of coastal resources. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free.

Spring Garden Show (Botanical Garden, New Orleans City Park, 3 Victory Ave.; — The two-day expo features more than 50 horticultural exhibits, educational lectures, children's activities, plant sales, a plant health clinic, live music and more. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. $8, $4 children 5-12, free for children 4 and younger and Friends of City Park.

8, 15 & 22
Music under the Oaks (Audubon Park, Newman Bandstand, 6500 Magazine St., 504-861-2537; — The Sunday concert series features live music performances and food and drink vendors. Lawn chairs are allowed. 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Free.

A Taste of Covington (Various locations in Covington; — The food and wine event includes grand tastings, vintner dinners and more. Times and admissions vary.

French Quarter Festival (Various locations in the French Quarter, 504-522-5730; — The 35-year-old music and food festival features food from more than 50 New Orleans restaurants, music performed by more than 1,700 musicians and special events including films, lectures, fireworks and children's activities. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Free.

Street Rod Reunion Car Show (Boomtown Casino & Hotel, 300 Riverside Drive, Bossier City, 318-746-0711; — The 45th annual event is for vehicles at least 30 years old and includes prize drawings, a live auction and awards in a variety of categories. There's also live entertainment Saturday. 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Registration $35 (before April 6), $40 day of show.

Antique Fair & Yard Sale (Old School House Antique Mall, 123 S. Church St., Washington, 337-826-3580; — More than 200 antiques and collectibles dealers show their wares on this 6-acre spot. There is furniture, antiques, china, glassware, primitive art, architectural elements, vintage clothing, artwork, estate jewelry and plants. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free.

Downtown Lake Charles Crawfish Festival (Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles; — The annual celebration promotes crawfish season and its benefits to Louisiana and includes carnival rides, games, live music, food and a marketplace of regional businesses selling everything from clothing to farm equipment. There's a 3K-5K run on Friday. 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday. $10.

Grand Isle Blessing of the Fleet Festival (Tarpon Rodeo Pavilion, 158 Sandollar Court, Grand Isle; — The festival celebrates the area's fishing and shrimping heritage and includes carnival rides, games, music, food booths, arts and crafts, sportsman exhibits, Louisiana food and live music by Ryan Foret, Waylon Thibodeaux and others. The blessing of the fleet is 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Free.

Great Louisiana BirdFest (Various locations in south Louisiana; — There are birding tours, trips to Manchac Swamp, Big Branch, Honey Island Swamp and more, a photo workshop, talks and a social. Times and admissions vary.

New Orleans Spring Bead & Jewelry Show (Pontchartrain Center, 4545 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 504-265-8830; — Shoppers will find beads, beading supplies, pearls, jewelry, classes and more at this jewelry show. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. $5 three-day pass.

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival (Downtown Ponchatoula, 800-917-7045; — There's a parade on Saturday, a marathon and fun run on Sunday and strawberry-eating contests both days at the 47th incarnation of this popular festival. There's live music, games, carnival rides, a strawberry auction and more. Noon-10:30 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Free.

Spring for Art (Downtown Covington, 985-892-8650; — There's live music, performances, art demonstrations and more, plus businesses stay open late. 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Free.

Baton Rouge Blues Festival (100 North Blvd., Baton Rouge; — The lineup includes Mavis Staples, Samantha Fish, Chris Thomas King, Lazy Lester, the subdudes, Erica Falls, Water Seed and others. There also are art and food vendors. 11 a.m.-until Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. Free.

Louisiana International Film Festival (Cinemark, 10000 Perkins Rowe, Baton Rouge, 225-761-7844; — The festival showcases filmmakers and musicians from Louisiana. Times to be determined. Festival pass $25-$125.

NOLA Navy Week and Tall Ships (New Orleans Riverfront; — Ships from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard arrive in New Orleans for NOLA Navy Week, and ships from Canada and Great Britain arrive for the Tall Ships celebration. Ships arrive along the riverfront Thursday from Port of New Orleans to the Nicholls Street Wharf, and are open for public tours Friday. There's a black-tie gala Saturday. Tall ships depart April 23; Navy ships depart April 25. 2:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Thursday (ships arrive), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday (boat tours), 6:45-10 p.m. Saturday (gala). Free Thursday-Friday and Sunday. $300 Saturday gala.

Fridays-May 18
Music & Market (Opelousas Tourist Center, 828 E. Landry St., Opelousas, 337-948-6363; — The smoke-free concert series on Fridays from April 20 through May 18 features music from performers including Lil Buck Sinegal (April 20), Chubby Carrier (May 11) and the Jaxon Meche Band (May 18). There also is a market of Louisiana produce and products. 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Free.

Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival (Downtown Franklin; — The festival focuses on education about the Louisiana Black Bear, which is deemed "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The festival includes live music, food, field trips, a raffle, educational exhibits, children's activities, a fun run, a teddy bear repair clinic, wooden boat show and fireworks (Saturday). 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday. Free.

Cajun Festival (Visitation of Our Lady School, 3520 Ames Blvd., Marrero, 504-347-3377; —Amanda Shaw, The Topcats, The Chee-Weez, Bucktown All-Stars and others perform at the three-day event. There's also food, chicken drop bingo, a silent auction, a talent show and more. 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Free.

Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival (Various locations, Grand Isle, 985-306-0535; — The three-day event coincides with the annual migration of birds across the Gulf of Mexico. There are expert-led birding tours, a tour of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries research lab and kayak and boat tours to mangroves and rookeries. More than 168 species of birds were identified last year. Times and admissions vary.

Kenner's Italian Heritage Festival (400 block of Williams Boulevard, Kenner; — The festival offers three days of live music, food, carnival rides, games and crafts. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday. $5, free for children 12 years and younger.

Lockport Food Festival (710 Church St., Lockport, 985-532-3117; — The festival spotlights Louisiana foods including beignets, crawfish etouffee, gumbo, seafood po-boys, shrimp boulettes and more. There are carnival rides, live auctions, arts and crafts, a 5K run and live music by Nonc Nu and the Wild Matous, Supercharger, Tet Der, Sheauxdown and others. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Free.

New Orleans Poetry Festival (New Orleans Healing Center, 2372 St. Claude Ave.; — Louisiana Poet Laureate Jack Bedell will attend the festival, and there are performances by poet Douglas Kearney, Tonya Foster and Carolyn Hembree. There's also a small press fair, panel discussions, readings, a dance party and open-mic poetry reading. Times vary. All-access pass $75.

I Am for the Child Music Festival (Lafreniere Park, 3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie, 504-533-8757; — The event includes live local music, food and family-oriented activities. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Free.

Crawfish for Cancer NOLA (Mardi Gras World, 1380 Port of New Orleans Place; — The inaugural event features a crawfish boil-off among local restaurants, unlimited crawfish, a five-hour open bar featuring sweet tea vodka cocktails and live music by Louisiana Spice and Typically Booked. Noon-5 p.m. $75 (until April 18) then $85 in advance, $100 at the door.

New Orleans Mini Maker Faire (Delgado Community College, Orleans Avenue at Victory Avenue; — The event draws more than 100 engineers, scientists, artists and crafters, who display hobbies and projects, conduct experiments and share with the public. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $10, free for students with valid ID and children.

Angola Prison Rodeo (Angola Prison Rodeo Arena, Louisiana State Penitentiary, 17544 Tunica Trace, Angola, 225-655-2030; — Started in 1965, this is the longest running prison rodeo in the country and features bulldogging, barrel racing, bareback riding and more. There also are food vendors and a sale of inmate crafts. 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Rodeo starts at 2 p.m.) $20.

Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival (Covington Trailhead, 419 N. New Hampshire St., 985-892-1873; — The two-day event features music, food, a live auction, vintage collectibles, architectural salvage, appraisals, demonstrations, walking tours and classic cars. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free.

Labadieville Spring Festival (American Legion Grounds, 310 Brule Road, Labadieville) — There's music by Tet Dur and Ross Grisham on Saturday as well as crawfish stew, seafood gumbo and chicken and sausage gumbo. Sunday features a car show and auction. There are children's games, raffles and food both days. 5 p.m.-midnight Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Balfa Week (Chicot State Park, 3469 Chicot Park Road, Ville Platte; — Dedicated to fiddler Dewey Balfa, the week includes sessions with culture bearers and musicians, intensive classes in fiddle, guitar and accordion, Cajun and Creole vocals, band labs, nightly dances, jam sessions, words-and-music sessions and more. Camping is available. 8 a.m.-midnight daily. $720 full schedule, $250 morning sessions, $125 per day, part-time $10-$50.

Deanie's Seafood Pinch A Palooza (1713 Lake Ave., Metairie; — The family-friendly event features live music, crawfish-eating contests, crawfish races, kids' activities and more. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Free.

New Orleans Tricentennial Dog Parade (NOLA City Bark, New Orleans City Park, 30 Zachary Taylor Drive, 504-483-3139; — The event honoring New Orleans' 300th birthday includes a dog walk around City Bark, a contest for the best New Orleans-centric dog costume and more. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $40.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans (Tournament Players Club, 11001 Lapalco Blvd., Avondale; — The Louisiana stop on the PGA Championship Tournament circuit draws international golf stars. There's also food by Acme Oyster House and live entertainment after golfers finish Saturday and Sunday. Start times are 11 a.m. Monday, 7 a.m. Tuesday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. $35 single-day ticket, $85 weekly badge.

Earth Day (Botanical Garden, New Orleans City Park, 5 Victory Ave., 504-483-9473; — The event has live music, food, cooking demonstrations, activities for children and exhibitors offering products and information about eco-friendly living. There are free yoga classes at 5:30 p.m. 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Admission by donation.

Sippin' in the Courtyard — See March 28 for event description.

Festival International de Louisiane (Downtown Lafayette; — The international music and arts festival features dozens of performers including Zachary Richard, the Givers, Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, Feufollet, Harmonouche and musicians from other countries. There are workshops, exhibits, theater shows, food vendors and more. Times vary. Free.

Thursdays-June 7
Jazz in the Park (Louis Armstrong Park, 701 N. Rampart St.; — The weekly concert series features local bands, food, arts and crafts and more. 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Free.

Sandjam Music Festival (M.B. Miller County Pier, 12213 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, Florida; — The festival focuses on adult alternative rock music, with stages on the beach. 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday, 2 p.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. Weekend pass $129 in advance, $189 at the gate.

Zoo-To-Do for Kids (Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 504-861-1237; — The 30th annual event for children features musical entertainment, food, crafts, arcade games, face painting, crafts and inflatable structures. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. $25, $20 Audubon members, $40 early entry.

Etouffee Festival (370 Main St., Arnaudville, 337-754-5912; — The annual festival has three days of live music as well as carnival rides, bingo, an auto show, cook-offs, a marketplace and 5K run. 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Free.

The Italian Festival (50081 Highway 51, Tickfaw, 985-974-0565; — There's a spaghetti cook-off, live music, carnival rides, beauty pageant, arts and crafts, a parade and more. 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Free.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, 1751 Gentilly Blvd.; — The festival, which continues the first weekend of May, books scores of bands — local, national and international performers — including Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Jimmy Buffett, Jack White, Beck, Lionel Richie, David Byrne, LL Cool J, Bonnie Raitt, Jack Johnson and others. The festival also has a large arts marketplace, food areas, a kids' tent, interviews with performers and more. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. $65 (through April 26), $80 at gate, $5 children 2-10, free children under 2.

Ride for Rox at Festival International (Downtown Lafayette, 337-781-9416; — Held in honor of the late Roxanne Richard, the annual bike ride has 30-mile and 70-mile ride options and stops at Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. $25.

Instruments a Comin' (Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 504-895-8477; — The family-friendly street party hosted by Tipitina's Foundation includes a battle of the marching bands, performances by school musicians, a silent auction and indoor concert by New Orleans Suspects, Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes, Naughty Professor, Honey Island Swamp Band and others. 6 p.m.-until. Outdoor events free, indoor concert $60.

WWOZ Piano Night (House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 504-310-4999; — The annual celebration of great piano players features performances by Ellis Marsalis, Jon Cleary, Marcia Ball, Henry Gray, Davell Crawford, Tom McDermott, Joe Krown, Bob Seeley, David Torkanowsky, Al "Lil Fats" Johnson and John Autin. 6:30 p.m. $50 and up.

30-May 2
NOLA Crawfish Festival (Central City BBQ, 1201 S. Rampart St., 504-558-4276; — The three-day festival features a crawfish-eating championship, a cook-off, local beers and music from Tab Benoit's Whiskey Bayou Records Revue; Dr. Klaw, featuring Ivan and Cyril Neville; Ivan Neville & Friends with George Porter Jr.; the Jon Cleary Band and others. 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Wed. $45 single day, $125 three-day pass; VIP $140 single day, $325-$500 three-day passes.

30-May 4
Six of Saturns (Ace Hotel, Three Keys, 600 Carondelet St., 504-656-9762; — The third annual celebration of music, culture and collaboration includes performances by Harriet Tubman, Naked on the Floor, Henry Butler, Ivan Neville and New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. 9 p.m.-till. Free with RSVP (except Thursday & Friday).



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