10 Must-visit Louisiana Festivals (2024)
When packing bags for Louisiana vacations, make sure you pack an extra pair along with a day more. Wondering why? Simply because it may be some festival the very next day and you would surely not want to miss it. Every year, throughout the seasons, Louisiana hosts over 400 festivals. Because the list is so long, they are surely diverse and unique. But a thing that stays common is the spirit of celebration. Louisiana is passionate about art, culture, food, music, and you can witness it through its festivals.
There are choicest options at every corner, whether it is the world-renowned Mardi Gras event or the unmissable French Quarter festival. You can be in any city or town of Louisiana, and there will be another festival going on. The State definitely lives for its unofficial motto, ‘Let the Good times roll.’ However, because Louisiana has festivals even more than the total days a year, choosing a few becomes tricky. But that’s where we come in.
10 Must-visit Louisiana Festivals
We have sorted out some of the most popular festivals of Louisiana for you.
1. Mardi Gras Event
We agree that Louisiana is so much more than its Mardi gras event, but it too is true that you cannot simply ignore it. While Mardi Gras is celebrated all over Louisiana, the one in New Orleans tops them all. The event begins soon as the Christmas celebration ends and goes a long way till Ash Wednesday, featuring the grand parade. These two months (January to March) are full of celebrations from balls to small and big parades, music, dance, food, dedicatedly the biggest Carnival. No matter how many times you have attended it, you can never actually get full of this carnival. However, because it is the biggest festival in Louisiana, be prepared to be a part of a HUGE crowd.
2. Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival
The gorgeous city of Ponchatoula is home to the popular Ponchatoula strawberry festival. And why not, being the Strawberry Capital of the World, it deserves all right to celebrate the theme. Every year in the month of April, they organize one of the largest free festivals in Louisiana, celebrating the sweetest berry. Everything here is truly fun, from sack races to strawberry eating contests, egg tosses, and other old-fashioned cultures. You can try samples of several strawberry treats, and while going back, there’s so much to shop and take along.
3. French Quarter Festival
The biggest free music extravagance in America, the French Quarter Festival is a must-visit when in Louisiana. The festival takes place in the month of April, boosting 400-plus hours of live entertainment. The event displays local talent along with national and international music. While every single performance here is absolutely free, do bring along some cash to enjoy the local delicacies. Over 60 local vendors here sell the yummiest festival foods along with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The best time to be here is during evening hours when everything around turns more lively and lovely.
4. Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival
The Coldest festival in Louisiana, the Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival, is an event for outdoor enthusiasts. It initially started as a low-profile event, but with the year, it grew large. The festival takes place during the peaks of winters featuring quirky contests. It may include duck and goose calling, dog trails, trap setting, oyster shucking, everything ensuring fun. While everything here is centered around animals, they still do not lack in offering lip-smacking snacks. And not just that, you can also be a part of their Gumbo cook-offs and pageants and have your share of fun. For attending the event, reach Downtown Cameron.
5. Natchitoches Christmas Festival
The biggest winter event, Natchitoches Christmas, is definitely a must-visit Louisiana festival. You can have Christmas at your home but can still be a part of this event from November through New year. The festival turns the lakefront city of Natchitoches into the gloomiest affair with over 300,000 Christmas lights. They use light strings and build shapes inspired by Christmas all throughout the town. Especially, it is the picturesque riverbank of Cane River Lake that will never go off from your memories. Everything about this Christmas festival is appealing, from festive fireworks over water to Holiday Tour of Homes, pet-the-alligator station, and delicious food.
6. Bayou Boogaloo Music Festival
When they say ‘Louisiana festivals are unique from the entire world,’ they literally mean every word of it. And to learn it live, you can attend the Bayou Boogaloo Music Festival during the mid of May in New Orleans. This music festival features non-stop live music for three long days. Days here are packed with great music, art, and lip-smacking food. However, what takes away the highlight is the attendees floating in the water. Yes, you read it right, not on the chairs but on unicorn floaties and makeshift pirate ships. While a few of them also enjoy the event from the streets, the real festival enthusiasts make sure they float the fun. The best part is, they even have a floating bar.
7. Franklin Parish Catfish Festival or Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival
Two different festivals serving the same motive, both Franklin Parish Catfish Festival or Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, are worth exploring. While Franklin Parish Catfish Festival is organized north-eastern town of Winnsboro, for the later reach Breaux Bridge. Both the festivals take place in the months of April and May, respectively. With over 4000 pounds of catfish fried, cooked, and served, the events attract lakhs of visitors every year. Though in case you aren’t a fish person, there’s a lot of BBQed stuff waiting for your way. And even if food isn’t really what attracts you, live music, comedy shows, antique car show, and a lot more will surely keep you captive.
8. Festival International de Louisiana
An art and music festival, the Festival International de Louisiana is one of the biggest international festivals organized in the United States. The festival takes place for three days during the third half of April. Their only motive here is to display native culture and arts, including that of French and Cajun culture. The festivals are organized in the streets of downtown Lafayette welcoming lakhs of people every single year. Along with music, you can also enjoy the delicious Cajun food affairs presented by local vendors.
9. French Food Festival
Louisiana has its root stuck tightly with the French, and there’s so much to justify this claim. However, one of the tastiest ways for experiencing the same is surely food, especially the one served at the French Food Festival. This food affair is organized every year in the month of October or November, right at 307 East 5th Street and Larose. Anyone can join the event for free, except paying for whatever you eat or buy. The festival features French and Cajun flavors and their uniqueness enjoyably. Enjoy the main draw; you can try plentiful, varied dishes, especially the Tarte a la bouille and the creamy crawfish fettuccine. When done with food, spare some time for live music, art, craft, and the Corhnole tournament.
10. Louisiana Pirate Festival
On the shores of historic and beautiful lake Charles comes the Louisiana Pirate Festival to life. This unique pirate and seafaring festival feature events on both land and water. Today, it stands as one of the oldest festivals of Louisiana that celebrates history and heritage like none other. The festival starts from the first week of May and goes all way long for the next ten days. From little kids to adults, all are decked up in Pirate-themed dresses living their inner dream. Not only on the waterfront, but pirate-dressed-up attendees take over the entire city of Lake Charles. There are events for kids, several music festivals, and a ten-day-long carnival for visitors of all age groups. And on the night it ends, the huge firework display over Lake Charles takes the vibe to a whole new and improved level.
Other Popular Festivals To Attend When In Louisiana
- International Rice Festival in Crowley (In the month of October)
- Red River Revel in Shreveport (In the month of October)
- Voodoo Music & Art Experience, New Orleans (In the month of October)
- Louisiana Peach Festival, Ruston (In the month of June)
- Festivals Acadiens et Créoles in Lafayette (In the month of October)
With wrapping it all up, we hope you have a list of the festival for every month.