Country star, monster po-boys

November 11, 2011 at 10:52 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Country star, monster po-boys
Residents will come from all across the parish to boogie to rocking music, soar through the air on various rides and get their fill of those famous monster soft shell crab and shrimp po-boys at the 41st annual River Parishes Fall Festival.

The festival, which takes place at Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Norco, begins Friday at 6 p.m. and goes strong throughout the weekend. Along with the rides, bands, games and food, attendees will also get to cruise for art at the craft show, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday in the school’s gym.

The food, which organizer Cristalle Poche’ calls some of the best around, is always a huge draw.

The festival is known for its monster po-boys, which come with soft shell crab, shrimp, oysters or catfish. Onion mum’s are another popular item, Poche’ said.

"Our onion mums just taste better than anyone elses," she said. "We have our own secret recipe."

Jambalaya, a raw oyster bar and regular fest fare like pizza, funnel cakes, nachos, hamburgers and cotton candy will be served as well.

"We offer the best food and we have a great setup because all the food booths are centrally located," Poche’ said. "Because of that, you’re not fighting crowds when you buy your food and it’s easy to get to one of our tables."

Poche’ said the price of the children’s food is kept low, and that a full meal can be enjoyed for $5 or less.

There will also be several games available for kids of all ages, including Plinko, marbleized memory, football toss, ring a drink and flush the frog.

The craft show, which will feature jewelry, yard art, sports items, candles and more will be open from noon until 8 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Sunday. Poche’ said up to 40 vendors will take part in the craft show.

"There is a lot of variety when it comes to our crafts," she said. "You can pretty much find anything you’re looking for."

But while the crafts will be a nice detour for many, most are interested in the music.

The River Parishes Fall Festival has some big artists this year, including country star Marc Broussard, who closes out the festival on Saturday night.

Broussard’s music has been featured on shows such as "Clash of the Choirs" in which his hit "Home" was performed by a Blake Shelton-led choir. "Home" also previously served as the theme song for NBC’s "Medium" and singer Kelly Clarkson has performed "Home" as part of her live set list. Most recently, another Broussard hit, "Must Be the Water," was the theme song for the 2008 NBA All-Star Game. Broussard has been a featured performer on many TV programs including "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "The Jimmy Kimmel Show," "The Late Show with Conan O’Brien," CBS’ "Early Show," and "Larry King Live."

Crowd favorite the Chee-Weez will take the stage at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

The Chee-Weez originally covered only disco tunes but have now branched out and evolved to a variety of music genres from the 1970s to today.

Another feature at almost every show is the costumes that the band members wear, which is in constant rotation and changes. Past and present themes include disco garb, patriotic themes, various superheroes, Blue Man Group, New Orleans Hornets jerseys, LSU Tigers football jerseys and more.

Kayla Woodson will close out the festival’s opening night on Friday.

Woodson, 16, has been singing in front of crowds since the age of four. At eight, she sang with The Topcats and also sang the national anthem at a New Orleans Hornets game. Woodson and her band Louisiana Lightning have also played Jazz Fest, where she showed her unique talents to sing country, pop and gospel.

Bands Weathered and Karma will also perform. And of course the festival will have plenty of exciting rides.

Poche’ said that the River Parishes Festival uses the same ride company as the Alligator Festival, so residents should be familiar with all that is offered.

While there will be plenty of rides for smaller children, another fun treat will be available on Sunday.

"During our Sunday dinner, which begins at 11 a.m., we have a really awesome magician who will do a show in the cafeteria for Sunday dinner and then perform on stage after dinner," Poche’ said.

Sunday dinner, which includes gumbo, potato salad and dessert, is only $5 per person.

A lot of the money that is made at the River Parishes Fall Festival goes into charities, including church ministries and the school, according to Poche’.

"We have a wide variety of events, great rides and lots and lots of friendly people," Poche’ said.

Admission to the River Parishes Fall Festival is free. The festival is open from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, 12-10 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. on Sunday.

For a complete listing of event times and bands, see the ad on page 2B.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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