❶ Here’s The Beef Cook-Off
Feb. 23/Opelousas. Chefs and pit masters around Cajun country compete in a best beef dish cookoff from brisket to tongue. You get to be the judge, while enjoying live music and trail rides. facebook.com/heresthebeef-cookoff
❷ Azalea Trail
Feb. 23-March 31/Lafayette. Celebrate the arrival of spring with the annual Azalea Trail. Walk 20 miles through Lafayette to see red, pink, white and purple azaleas in front of stores, historic homes and more. lafayette-travel.com
❸ Lighted Boat Parade
Feb. 23/Lake Charles. Add the Lighted Boat Parade to your Mardi Gras schedule. Gather around the lakefront promenade seawall behind the Lake Charles Civic Center to view the lights and decorated boats parade on the lake.
❶ Taste de la Louisiane
March 3/Lake Charles. If you want to sample some of the best cuisine in southwest Louisiana, this is your event. Head to the Lake Charles Civic Center to experience a true sampling of Cajun and Creole dishes.
❷ Laginappe Music Seafood Fest
March 8-10 /Gonzales. Benefitting Stand for Autism, the new Lagniappe Music Seafood Fest features a carnival, car show, live music, crafts and more, with the main event being a gumbo cook-off. standfor-autismla.org
❸ Celtic Bayou Festival.
March 15-16/Lafayette. This family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day festival celebrates Celtic. The weekend includes Celtic music, Irish whiskey tasting, a Guinness cook-off, a genealogy tent and more. celticbayou-fest.com