Chauvin Folk Art Festival and Blessing of the Fleet – April 15
To mark the beginning of the shrimping season, outgoing boats lined with colorful flags are blessed as they parade from St. Joseph Catholic Church to Boudreaux Canal.
Captains use the ceremonial custom and trip along Bayou Little Caillou to ask God for a safe and plentiful season. Monsignor Fred Brunet, pastor at St. Joseph, rides in a lead boat and blesses vessels as he passes them before leading the procession.
In addition to the sight of the beautiful flotilla, a family-oriented festival brings life to the Chauvin Sculpture Garden, 5337 Bayouside Drive.
Local art craftsmen are on hand to give demonstrations, festivalgoers are welcome inside an art activity tent and local cuisine is offered.
The Chauvin Sculpture Garden is a tightly packed site of former Chauvin resident Kenny Hill’s elaborate artwork. Among the profound inclusions is a 7,000-brick, 45-foot tall lighthouse with figures clinging to the outside.
For more information, call (985) 493-2500 or (985) 594-5859.
French Quarter Fest returns for 29th year – April 12-15
It’s easy to get lost in the cache boasted by New Orleans’ Jazz and Heritage Festival, but a four-day musical prelude shouldn’t be forgotten.
The French Quarter Fest, which includes more than 250 hours of free music on 20 stages, returns for its 29th year April 12.
The free festival has blossomed since being founded in 1984 as a means to coerce locals back into the quarter after major street and sidewalk construction before the World’s Fair. More than 500,000 people attended the festival in 2011, according to its website.
Heavy on New Orleans jazz, the festival features Trombone Shorty, Bonerama, Papa Grows Funk, The Pine Leaf Boys and more than 750 other live musicians.
This year, the festival debuts a full fourth day, “Locals’ Lagniappe Day,” which runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Jackson Square and Woldenberg Riverfront Park. Twenty-six bands play on five stages between the two sites.
View the lineup at www.fqfi.org.
Black Bear Festival – April 20-22
An award-winning three-day festival aiming to raise awareness of the plight of black bears returns for a ninth year April 20 in Franklin.
The Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival features several free booths, including fan arts and crafts viewing zone, an art and photography exhibit and sale, a black bear obstacle course, a fireworks show and the Bayou Teche Wooden Boat Show.
Participation in Cajun Horseshoes, or “Old Fashioned Horseshoes using Toilet Seats,” is also free. So are boat trips into the Bayou Teche Wildlife Refuge, as long as you pre-register.
Ten bands, headlined by Grammy-winning Chubby Carrier, perform throughout the weekend.
The festival started in 2003 as part of an effort to raise awareness about the black bear population and environment in St. Mary Parish. In 2006, the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals said the Black Bear Fest was the No. 1 “Best New Event” with attendance less than 25,000.
For more information, visit www.bayoutechebearfest.org.
La Fete Du Monde – April 20-22
A Swamp Pop Festival featuring live music, rides for all ages and a litany of Cajun food offerings returns to Lockport’s Church Street April 20.
Beneath the giant white tents, revelers can soak up the sounds and flavors of Lafourche Parish.
Offered cuisine includes jambalaya, gumbo, alligator sauce picante, fried fish, beignets and crawfish pies.
Nine bands are scheduled for three-hour sets over the festival’s three days. The musical guests include Blue Eyed Soul Revue, Rocktricity, Velvet Sky, Treater, Greywolf and Aaron Foret, among others.
Tickets for the pay-one-price rides top out at $15, and admission schedules are carved into four- and five-hour blocks.
Weekend armbands cost $50 and must be purchased in advance at Lockport Town Hall, 710 Church St. The phone number is (985) 532-3117.
Trombone Shorty performs at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 15 in Woldenberg Riverfront Park. He’s one of more than 800 musicians penciled in to the 29th Annual French Quarter Festival.
Children enjoy a ride at a local festival.