Follow the festivals to explore Louisiana cuisine
Read the story of Louisiana food seasons and harvests by the places these festivals hold on the calendar.
Louisiana food festivals come in all sizes and descriptions, and for visitors they provide a fantastic opportunity to taste the flavors of the state, feel the rhythm of local tradition and share authentic cultural experiences with the locals.
You can even read the story of Louisiana food seasons and harvests by the places these festivals hold on the calendar. For instance, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival comes along in early May when the delicious crustaceans are at their most plentiful. All weekend long, visitors and locals dispatch all the crawfish they can handle, whether boiled, fried, cooked into bisque or gumbo or baked into pies.
Up north, in Shreveport, a similar scene takes shape during the Mudbug Madness Festival in late May. April is strawberry harvest time in Southeast Louisiana, so that’s when the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival takes over the streets of its namesake town. Tomatoes are as red and ripe as can be in June, just in time for the Creole Tomato Festival in New Orleans, while the small town of Farmerville holds its Louisiana Watermelon Festival when its sweet crop is ready in late July. Meanwhile October is time to celebrate yams, or sweet potatoes, at the Louisiana Yambilee Festival in Opelousas and also the rice harvest at Crowley’s International Rice Festival.
Some festivals honor foods and preparations that have come to symbolize their particular communities year-round. When people talk about pies in Natchitoches they mean the savory turnovers that provide the theme for the Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival each September. But when visitors head to the Lecompte Pie Festival in October, they’re craving sweet slices of classic Louisiana desserts.
The many catfish ponds dotting North Louisiana’s countryside help supply the star attraction at the Franklin Parish Catfish Festival, which draws thousands to downtown Winnsboro in April. Many Louisiana food festivals feature pageants and festival queens, some organize parades and cook-offs and most will have live music from local and touring performers.
But no matter what form it takes, a Louisiana food festival will always put the great flavors of this state front and center. NOTE: Festival dates change annually, so check the sites for updated information.