Louisiana's Spring Festivals

Louisiana prides itself in being the festival capital of America, if not the entire world. Whether your passion is food, art, music – or something on the fringe – all regions of the state have large and small fests that draw in both locals and visitors to celebrate. Springtime is a particularly busy time of year, as we enjoy the sunshine. On the following pages, we present a statewide list of happenings, as well as draw your attention to 15 festivals that are worth the trip.


Scottish Tartan Festival

April 2 • Minden
You know you’re in for a treat when the frequently asked questions section of a festival’s website begins with “Should I wear my kilt?” At the annual Scottish Tartan Festival in Minden, visitors can enjoy traditional Celtic music, Highland Scottish cattle herding, Gaelic language workshops and more. If you work up an appetite tossing cables, head over to the food vendors for a Scotch egg or a “coo burger” made of Scottish Highland beef. The answer, by the way, is yes – you should absolutely wear your kilt. WHERE: Scotland Farms, Minden TICKETS: $7/adult; $3/children MORE INFO: scotlandfarms.com


ASEANA Spring Festival

April 2 • Shreveport
At the corner of Texas Avenue and Milam Street in downtown Shreveport, an ornate gateway welcomes visitors to the Asian Gardens of Shreveport. Since this park opened in 2007, the not-for-profit organization that created it, the ASEANA Foundation, has hosted biannual festivals of Asian culture among the flower beds and sculpture gardens. Each edition of this festival celebrates the culture of a different Asian country. The Spring 2016 festival will feature the food, music and dance of Laos during a traditional Laotian celebration known as Sa Bai Dee.
Fans of authentic Asian cuisine, especially, will find much to enjoy at ASEANA Spring Festival. In addition to restaurants and caterers, well-regarded home cooks operate food and drink booths at the festival. Past editions of the festival have drawn more than 2,000 attendees, so visitors with a taste for homemade papaya salad or Laotian crunchy rice should plan to arrive early. WHERE: The Asian Gardens of Shreveport TICKETS: Free admission MORE INFO: (318) 797-4258


Ruston Makers Fair

April 9 • Ruston
Makers fairs – DIY arts and crafts fairs that often have a decidedly “not your mom’s craft sale” quality to them – are thriving in communities throughout Louisiana, including Ruston. The Ruston Makers Fair, held in downtown Ruston, debuted in September 2015 and is now planned as a biannual event. The Spring 2016 fair is expected to feature more than 50 local artists as well as live music, food vendors and more of the hip, youthful vibe that made the first installment a smash success. WHERE: Corner of Louisiana Avenue and Monroe Street TICKETS: free admission MORE INFO: facebook.com/rustonmakersfair

Central Louisiana


May 6 & 7 • Leesville
With two stages of live music, arts and crafts vendors, classic car exhibits and more, it’s easy to see why Mayfest has garnered so much positive attention in recent years, including being named 2012 Festival of the Year by the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association. Grab a funnel cake and wander the square in downtown Leesville, where you could catch a performance by a gospel choir, watch a chalk artist design a trompe-l’œil on the street, or stumble upon a group of local dulcimer players warming up outside of a local art gallery.  WHERE: Downtown Leesville TICKETS: Free admissionMORE INFO: vernonparish.org/may-fest


Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival

April 16 & 17 • Melrose
For two days each spring, the serene grounds of Melrose Plantation near Natchitoches are transformed into a bustling arts marketplace as more than 100 arts and crafts vendors set up shop among the ancient live oaks and gardens of this National Historic Landmark. Paintings, stained glass, pottery and hand-crafted jewelry are among the items that will be shown and sold by artists and makers from throughout Central Louisiana.
There’s something moving about seeing local artists striking bargains with shoppers just steps from the tiny cabin that once served as a makeshift gallery for folk artist Clementine Hunter. One more reason to attend in 2016: Hunter’s famed African House Murals, removed from the plantation grounds for restoration in 2014, will be returned to Melrose on April 9. All proceeds from the festival benefit ongoing upkeep and restoration efforts at Melrose. WHERE: Melrose Plantation TICKETS: Free admission MORE INFO: melroseplantation.org


Lecompte Pie Festival

April 29-May 1 • lecompte
If you’ve ever visited Lecompte, a small town located 12 miles south of Alexandria via Highway 71, chances are good that you stopped into Lea’s Lunchroom for a slice of pie or a ham sandwich. Lea’s Lunchroom has been open since 1928 and, in 2000, the popularity of their pies led to Lecompte being designated “Pie Capital of Louisiana” by the state legislature. The annual Lecompte Pie Festival features carnival rides, fireworks, a parade and plenty of pie. Plan to visit on Saturday, when you can catch the 10 a.m. parade followed by pie-eating contests and the annual introduction of the Pie Queens. WHERE: Old Lecompte High School TICKETS: $3 MORE INFO: asliceoflouisiana.net

Plantation Country By Jeffrey Roedel


April 2-3 • Baton Rouge
Celebrating inclusiveness and community on a grand scale in the Capital City, this weekend-long party hosted by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge launched in 1974 and stands as an eclectic amalgam of musicians, artists and chefs – as well as an entire “Children’s Village” filled with activities and entertainment for little ones. More than 100 visual artists and makers from across the region create a one-of-a-kind marketplace with their latest handcrafted creations and vie for $6,000 in prizes while dozens of bands – most leaning toward blues, jazz and indigenous Louisiana sounds – usher in springtime on stages throughout downtown Baton Rouge. WHERE: North Boulevard Town Square and Galvez Plaza TICKETS: Free admission MORE INFO: artsbr.org


Louisiana International Film Festival

Apri 14-17 • Baton Rouge
L.A. glitz comes to the other La. through the brainchild of veteran filmmakers Chesley Heymsfield and Dan Ireland. The Louisiana International Film Festival gives “Hollywood South” the platform it deserves for encouraging an in-depth cultural exchange and toasting world-class movies.
In addition to its popular Film Society that debuts top U.S. studio films, acclaimed documentaries and international pictures throughout the year in Baton Rouge and New Orleans – including sold-out pre-release screenings of Boyhood, Gone Girl, and Imitation Game, among others – LIFF is Louisiana’s two-day “mini-Sundance.”
The festival’s focus is on storytelling and independent cinema with the best of upcoming studio releases taking a bow, filmmaker panels and discussions and workshops, and a handful of guest spots by movie stars and award-winning filmmakers, too. Emmy-nominee Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World, Daredevil) made an appearance last year. Live music includes Louisiana rock and funk performers and a special symphonic performance of classic movie themes throughout the years. WHERE: Cinemark Perkins Rowe TICKETS: Festival pass packages and tickets for individual screenings are available online MORE INFO: lifilmfest.org


Baton Rouge Blues Festival

April 9-10 • Downtown Baton Rouge
Equal parts reverence and joy fill the air at this annual celebration of Baton Rouge’s well-trod tradition as a Blues Mecca. Along with a more intimate and funky pre-festival Rent Party, the event is expanded to two days this year, adeptly honoring hallowed sounds with its Gospel and Soul stages, then showing off what a slate of this generation’s most enticing performers are bringing to the Blues – from the delta to the swamp and beyond. Past headliners include Dr. John, Charles Bradley, Bobby Rush Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and Arrested Development. WHERE: Downtown Baton Rouge TICKETS: Available online and at the ticket office the day of the festival MORE INFO: This is a free event!  batonrougebluesfestival.org

Cajun Country by Jenny Peterson

Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival

May 6-8 • Breaux bridge
The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival began in 1960 after The Louisiana legislature named Breaux Bridge the “Crawfish Capital of the World.” Attendees will enjoy crawfish prepared in every imaginable way. There are also crawfish races, where numbered crawfish race eight feet to a finish line. Over 30 zydeco, Cajun and swamp pop bands will play over three days. Cajun dance contests, cook-offs, carnival rides, arts vendors, demonstrations and a parade carrying the Crawfish Queen kick off this world famous festival. Where: Parc Hardy, 6200 US Hwy. 6, Breaux Bridge Tickets: Friday and Sunday $5; Saturday $10 More info: bbcrawfest.com


festival international de louisane

April 20 – 24 • Lafayette
Lafayette’s annual International de Louisiane festival is a free music and arts event celebrating the cultural French heritage of South Louisiana with hundreds of performing and visual artists over five days. This year is the 30th anniversary of the community festival which showcases the French, African, Caribbean and Hispanic influences of the region through performing arts. The festival is known for bringing a variety of unique and emerging performers to South Louisiana. This year’s lineup includes zydeco, Cajun and French musicians along with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra. An artisans market will feature hand-crafted jewelry, pottery and art from around the world and food vendors will showcase Acadania’s renowned cuisine. Two stages will offer family-friendly activities, performances and art to educate future generations about the history and distinct culture of the region. This beloved annual festival is an international experience and a celebration of all things South Louisiana—food, music and culture. Where: Downtown Lafayette Tickets: Free More info: festivalinternational.org


Contraband Days

April 26-May 8 • Lake Charles
Lake Charles Contraband Days is a pirate-themed festival with more than 100 events over 12 days named after “Contraband Bayou,” where legendary pirate Jean Lafitte was rumored to have dumped stolen treasure. Celebrating nearly 60 years, Lake Charles’ oldest festival celebrates pirate history with special events, music, cannons, rides, fireworks and a pirate-themed parade along the city’s marina. Attendees on both land and water can observe costumed “Buccaneers” take over the city and make elected officials “walk the plank” into the lake. Where: 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles Tickets: Adults: $10; children ages 6-12: $5; children 5 and under Free. Gate passes available for multiple days. More info: contrabanddays.com

Greater New Orleans by Sarah Ravits

Jazz in the Park

Wednesdays till October • new orleans
Outside the French Quarter in New Orleans’ iconic Louis Armstrong Park, a free weekly concert series boasts some of the most beloved, as well as up-and-coming local acts. Whether you live in New Orleans or are planning on visiting for an extra-long weekend, this festival should be on your agenda. The crowds are lively but manageable  – you can get close enough to the stage with room to dance or bring a blanket and sit in the grass. Local food vendors offer a diverse range of snacks and beer, and arts and crafts booths are abundant. Where: Armstrong Park, New Orleans Tickets:  Free admission More info: facebook.com/JazzInArmstrongPark


New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell

April 22-24; April 28-May 1 • new orleans
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is a 10-day celebration of the city’s art, culture, music and food. While much of the lineup hails from New Orleans and the surrounding areas, the festival also draws huge international headliners that range the gamut from ‘60s folk/rock icons like Neil Young and Paul Simon to big-time rappers like Snoop Dogg and Flo Rida and blues sensation Gary Clark Jr. Rain or shine, Jazz Fest has exposed New Orleans to the world, and vice versa, for more than 40 years. Where: The New Orleans Fair Grounds Tickets: Varies ($65 / day in advance; $70 at the gate, other rates apply) More Info: nojazzfest.com


Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

April 8-10 • Ponchatoula
Celebrating all things pertaining to this sweet, tart fruit, the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival celebrates 45 years this spring. About an hour drive from New Orleans, the fest takes place over three days, with live music and signature events including a strawberry eating contest, a parade and an auction. It even has its own royal family, complete with a king, queen and grand marshal. It’s recommended that one arrive with an appetite so sample all the creative strawberry-themed libations and food. Where: Memorial Park, Ponchatoula Tickets: Free admission More info: lastrawberryfestival.com



Southern Boat Show Houma
Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival Cameron
Battle of New Orleans Commemoration Chalmette
Martin Luther King Jr. Festival Lake Charles


Crawfish Etouffee Cookoff Eunice
Jazz on the Bayou presented by Ronnie Kole Foundation Slidell
Abita Springs Earth Fest Abita Springs
Louisiana Redbud Festival Vivian
Bloomin’ on the Bricks Natchitoches
Hammond Smokin’ Blues & BBQ Challenge Hammond
The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival New Orleans
Louisiana Crawfish Festival Chalmette
Irish Italian Isleños Fiesta Chalmette
New Orleans Sacred Music Festival New Orleans
Jane Austen Literary Festival Mandeville
FoodFest (America’s Hometown Eats) New Orleans
Sulphur Mines Festival Sulphur
Merryville Heritage Festival Merryville
Terrytown Spring Festival Terrytown
Soul Fest New Orleans
Louisiana Nursery Festival Forest Hill
Congo Square Rhythms Festival New Orleans
Black Heritage Festival Lake Charles
Flea Fest: Flea Market Lake Charles
Live at the Lakefront Lake Charles
Iowa Rabbit Festival Iowa
NOLA Pyrate Week New Orleans
Zfest Zachary
Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival Independence
Laotian New Year Broussard
Audubon Pilgrimage St. Francisville
Hogs for the Cause New Orleans
Week New Orleans New Orleans
Wednesday at the Square New Orleans
New Orleans International Beer Festival New Orleans
Amite Oyster Festival Amite
Swamp Stomp Festival Thibodaux
Zapp’s International Beer Festival Baton Rouge


Catfish Festival Washington
Bayou Teche Wooden Boat Show Franklin
Bayou Jam Concerts Slidell
Chauvin Folk Art Festival Houma
Acadiana Dragon Boat Festival New Iberia
French Quarter Festival New Orleans
Family Fun Fest Larose
Fête Française New Orleans
Southdown Marketplace Spring Arts & Crafts Festival Houma
Cultural Crossroads Spring Arts Festival Minden
Boggy Bayou Festival Pine Prairie
Cajun Hot Sauce Festival New Iberia
Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival Grand Isle
Cajun Woodstock for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Church Point
Bayou Teche Black Bear and Birding Festival Franklin
Franklin Parish Catfish Festival Winnsboro
Covington Antiques Festival Covington
Scottish Tartan Festival Minden
Jazz in the Park New Orleans
Italian Festival Tickfaw
Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Natchitoches
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans
Italian Heritage Festival (Festa Italiana) Kenner
Old Algiers RiverFest New Orleans (Algiers)
Louisiana Forest Festival Winnfield
Holiday in Dixie Shreveport
Plaquemine Pow-Wow Plaquemine
Angola Prison Spring Rodeo Angola
Louisiana Railroad Days Festival DeQuincy
FestForAll Baton Rouge
Saints and Sinners Literary Festival New Orleans
Denham Springs Antique District Spring Festival Denham Springs
Great Louisiana BirdFest Mandeville
Original Lake Charles Crawfish Festival Lake Charles
Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival Ponchatoula
Festival International de Louisiane Lafayette
DeltaFest Monroe
Baton Rouge Blues Festival Baton Rouge
North Louisiana Spring Bluegrass Festival Oak Grove
Freret Street Festival New Orleans
Etoufee Festival Arnaudville
Houmapalooza Spring Music Festival Houma
Scott Boudin Festival Scott
Melrose Arts Festival Melrose
Mandeville Live Concertsl Mandeville
Battle of Pleasant Hill Annual Reenactment and Festival Pleasant Hill
Louisiana Earth Day Baton Rouge
Cypress Sawmill Festival Patterson
Kite Fest Louisiane Port Allen


Greater New Orleans International Dragon Boat Festival Madisonville
Bunk Johnson Jazz Festival New Iberia
Sunset Herb and Garden Festival Sunset
Mayfest Leesville
Poke Salad Festival Blanchard
Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair Thibodaux
Zydeco Extravaganza Opelousas
Bayou Country Superfest Baton Rouge
Oilman's Fishing Invitational Houma
Zwolle Loggers and Forestry Festival Zwolle
Plaquemines Parish Seafood Festival Belle Chasse
Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival Breaux Bridge
Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo New Orleans
New Orleans Wine & Food Experience New Orleans
Contraband Days-Louisiana Pirate Festival Lake Charles
Starks Mayhaw Festival Starks
Tomato Festival Chalmette
Cochon de Lait Festival Mansura
Mudbug Maddness Shreveport
Greek Festival New Orleans New Orleans
Jambalaya Festival Gonzales
Marion Mayhaw Festival Marion
Riverboat Festival Columbia
Herb and Garden Festival Sunset
Jeff Fish Fest & Rodeo River Ridge


Lake Arthur Regatta Lake Arthur
FestiGals New Orleans
Krewe of Terreanians Fishing Rodeo Houma
St. Tammany Crab Festival Lacombe
Bon Mangé Festival Gheens
Church Point Buggy Festival Church Point
Louisiana Bicycle Festival Abita Springs
Back to the Beach Festival Kenner
Bluesberry Festival Lafayette
Louisiana Catfish Festival Des Allemands
Wednesdays on the Point New Orleans (Algiers)
Cajun Heritage Festival Larose
New Orleans Oyster Festival New Orleans
Louisiana Peach Festival Ruston
French Market’s Creole Tomato Festival New Orleans
Garden Fest Baton Rouge
Beauregard Watermelon Festival DeRidder
The Day the War Stopped St. Francisville
Louisiana Corn Festival Bunkie
Let the Good Times Roll Festival Shreveport
Smoked Meat Festival Ville Platte
Southern Fried Swamp Fest New Orleans
Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival New Orleans
Lake Arthur Freedom Fest Lake Arthur
Juneteenth Folklife Celebration Opelousas
Juneteenth Heritage Festival Grambling


Tales of the Cocktail New Orleans
Independence Day Parade Houma
Cajun Music & Food Festival Lake Charles
Running of the Bulls New Orleans
Bucktown Bash Metairie
Mandeville City Seafood Fest Mandeville
Cake and Ice Cream Festival Abbeville
Bayou BBQ Bash – “Morgan City Under the Bridge” Morgan City
Celebration on the Cane Natchitoches
Marshland Festival Lake Charles
Erath Fourth of July Celebration Erath
Swamp Pop Music Festival Gonzales
Let Freedom Ring Festival Thibodaux
Feliciana Hummingbird Celebration St. Francisville
Lebeau Zydeco Festival Lebeau
Louisiana Watermelon Festival Farmerville
Natchitoches/NSU Folk Festival Natchitoches
Essence Festival New Orleans
Golden Meadow-Fourchon International Tarpon Rodeo Golden Meadow-Port Fourchon
Slidell Heritage Festival Slidell
Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo Grand Isle


Dirty Linen Night New Orleans
Delcambre Shrimp Festival Delcambre
French Film Fest New Orleans
Whitney White Linen Night New Orleans
Satchmo SummerFest New Orleans
Polos & Pearls St. Francisville
Red Dress Run New Orleans
Gueydan Duck Festival Gueydan
Arts & Crabs Fest Lake Charles
Le Cajun Music Awards and Festival Lafayette


Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival Opelousas (Plaisance)
Southern Decadence New Orleans
Oldies Fest Port Allen
Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival Natchitoches
The "34th" Annual Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival Plaisance
Best of the Bayou Houma
Germantown Bluegrass Festival Minden
Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival Morgan City
Calca-Chew Food Festival Lake Charles
Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival Bogalusa
Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival New Iberia
Sugar Festival Arabi
St. Theresa Bon Ton Festival Carlyss
New Orleans Burlesque Festival New Orleans
Rougarou Festival Houma
Bayou Lafourche Antique Show Thibodaux
Alligator Festival Luling
St. Martinville Kiwanis Pepper Festival St. Martinville
Jim Bowie Festival & BBQ Throwdown Vidalia
Downriver Festival at the French Market New Orleans
Louisiana Chicken Festival Dubach
Community Day and Outhouse Race Festival Choudrant
Oldies But Goodies Fest & BBQ Cook-Off Port Allen
Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship Festival Gonzales
Louisiana Seafood Festival New Orleans


Tour de Teche Bayou Teche
French Market's Boo Carré Ragley Heritage & Timber Festival Ragley
Rhythms on the River Morgan City
Sugar Fest Port Allen
Cal-Cam Fair Sulphur
State Fair of Louisiana Shreveport
Andouille Festival LaPlace
Opelousas Spice and Music Festival Opelousas
Voice of the Wetlands Houma
Taste of Louisiana Houma
Louisiana Cattle Festival Abbeville
Harvest Festival on False River New Roads
Oktoberfest Kenner
Louisiana Gumbo Festival of Chackbay Chackbay/Thibodaux
Bridge City Gumbo Festival Bridge City
International Heritage Celebration Baton Rouge
Black Pot Festival and Cook-Off Lafayette
Ponderosa Stomp Festival New Orleans
North Louisiana Fall Bluegrass Festival Oak Grove
Springhill Lumberjack Festival Springhill
Red River Revel Shreveport
Oak Alley Plantation Fall Arts and Crafts Festival Vacherie
Yellow Leaf Arts Festival St. Francisville
Denham Springs Antique District Fall Festival Denham Springs
International Rice Festival Crowley
Old Farmers Day Festival Loranger
Greater Baton Rouge State Fair Baton Rouge
Angola Prison Fall Rodeo Angola
New Orleans Film Festival New Orleans
Sweet Dough Pie Festival Grand Coteau
French Food Festival Larose
Louisiana Yambilee Festival Opelousas
Blues in da Parish Festival Violet
Gretna Heritage Festival Gretna
Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival New Orleans
Roberts Cove Germanfest Rayne (Roberts Cove)
Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival Madisonville
Book Sale Friends of the Jefferson Public Library Metairie
Louisiana Cotton Festival Ville Patte
Fesitvals Acadiens et Créoles Lafayette
Louisiana Art and Folk Festival Columbia
Violet Oyster Festival Violet
October Fete Kaplan
Louisiana Tournoi Ville Platte
Franklin Harvest Moon Festival Franklin
Rapides Parish Fair Alexandria
West Louisiana Forestry Festival & Fair Leesville
St. Tammany Parish Fair Covington
Louisiana Book Festival Baton Rouge
Voodoo Music + Art Experience New Orleans


Louisiana Indian Heritage Association Powwow Gonzales
Thibodauxville Fall Festival Thibodaux
Louisiana Pecan Festival Colfax
Three Rivers Art Festival Covington
Destrehan Plantation Fall Harvest Festival Destrehan
Sugar Day Festival Alexandria
Words & Music Festival: A Literary Feast in New Orleans New Orleans
Houmapalooza Fall Music Festival Houma
Atchafalaya Basin Festival Henderson
Louisiana Swine Festival Basile
Giant Omelette Celebration Abbeville
Southdown Marketplace Fall Arts & Crafts Festival Houma
Veterans on Parade Port Allen
Louisiana Renaissance Festival Hammond
Mirliton Festival New Orleans
Sabine Freestate Festival Florien
Treme Creole Gumbo Festival New Orleans
Hell Yes Fest Comedy Festival New Orleans
Westwego Cypress Swamp Festival Westwego
Oak Street Po-Boy Festival New Orleans
Port Barre Cracklin Festival Port Barre


Christmas on the Cajun Coast Morgan City Patterson and Franklin
Christmas Under the Oaks Sulphur
Bonfest Port Allen
Reflections of the Season Port Allen
Festival of the Bonfires Lutcher
Fall Harvest Festival Grant
Christmas on the River Monroe-West Monroe
Fire and Water Rural Arts Celebration (Le Feu et L’Eau) Arnaudville
Noel Acadien au Village Lafayette
Celebration in the Oaks New Orleans
Delcambre Christmas Boat Parade Delcambre
Christmas Festival of Lights Natchitoches
Plaquemines Parish Fair and Orange Festival Buras




Categories: Around The State, Events, Festivals