Music, food and vibrant culture are all significant parts of life in Louisiana, and the St. Landry Parish area is always bustling with festivals and events celebrating these cherished traditions.
Opelousas is the “Home of Zydeco” music, and any weekend you will find great Zydeco, Cajun and Swamp Pop music at the local dance halls and numerous festivals, including the Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival. A day’s worth of Zydeco music brings in visitors from all over. Held the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, the festival begins with Zydeco breakfast in the downtown area, followed by the Joie de Vivre of the state’s first outdoor “LaLa” (dance house).
The Bayou Blues Revival was created to encourage and conserve Louisiana’s rich musical heritage. The proceeds of this musical event go toward creating jobs for musicians in Arnaudville venues.
Good food is also important to Louisianans, and many occasions are set aside to enjoy well-known Louisiana cuisine. Washington hosts the annual Catfish Festival and Port Barre is home to the delicious Cracklin’ Festival. Both are complete with great food, cook-off competitions, live music and other entertainment. The Creole Festival in Opelousas is another tasty event, as is the Yambilee Festival, recognized as one of the state’s oldest festivals.
The festival celebrates the harvest of yams or sweet potatoes.Enjoying the tastes and sounds of St. Landry Parish continues at the Celebration of Herbs and Gardens in Sunset and the popular Opelousas Spice and Music Festival, normally held the first weekend in June. The festival not only honors its significant spice industry but also celebrates a variety of music styles including Zydeco, Cajun, R&B, Swamp Pop, Jazz and Blues, to name a few! Plenty of delicious food and arts and crafts can be found during this festival as well.
The Mardi Gras celebration reaches far beyond the streets of New Orleans. Eunice holds a traditional Courir de Mardi Gras each year on Mardi Gras Day. The run begins at 8:00 a.m. and is teeming with costumed participants who parade throughout the area. Simultaneously, a variety of activities and events are taking place in the downtown area. Live music, crafts and Cajun foods are just some of the main features. The infamous “Fat Tuesday” is also celebrated at Mardi Gras Opelousas with an annual parade (sponsored by Krewe of Frank’s) down Landry Street.
Enjoy music, shopping, soulful foods, art and plenty of activities during le Feu et l’Eau, a one-day event held in Arnaudville. The festival, meaning “Fire and Water” in English, has its roots in the trauma of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. After these natural disasters, volunteers in the Arnaudville area lit bonfires on the waters of la Jonction on la Vieille Piste d’Artiste in honor of the artists who chose to relocate here.
Fiddle Mania is a public art extravaganza based on the rich Cajun and Creole heritage that Opelousas boasts. It features larger-than-life, three dimensional fiberglass fiddle sculptures painted, decorated, adorned and embellished by area artists who transformed the instruments into works of art. Besides supporting the arts and attracting activity to the Main Street District and downtown area of the city, funds raised from the project will help Opelousas Main Street, Inc.
Held at historic Le Vieux Village, the Annual Lighting at the Village celebrates the coming of the Christmas season every year on December 1. The Village comes to life with countless numbers of lights adorning the area’s facade and Christmas carols heard throughout. Some of the most popular attractions during this annual event are the horse and buggy rides, a visit from Santa Claus, unique arts and crafts and seasonal gifts. The Village remains lit through the end of the year.