Monster po-boys, Chee-Weez big draws at River Parishes Fest

November 12, 2010 at 8:46 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Monster po-boys,  Chee-Weez big draws  at River Parishes Fest
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, shrimp and oyster po-boys at the 40th 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, fest goers will also get to cruise for art at the 7th Annual Craft Fair, which will take place 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. Pulled pork sandwiches will also be offered this year, as will regular fest fare like funnel cakes, cheese sticks, oysters on the half shell and gumbo.

“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 60 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.

The craft fair, which will feature jewelry, yard art, sports jerseys, 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 Kayla Woodson, who plays Friday night from 7-10 p.m.

Woodson, 15, 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. This year Woodson and her band Louisiana Lightning have already played Jazz Fest, where she showed her unique talents to sing country, pop and gospel.

The Brandon Foret Band and Karma play on Saturday, while Busty Rustle and the Rowdy Rough Boys close out the afternoon.

Sunday night, the Chee-Weez will take the stage from 7-9 p.m.

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.

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.

“They have great rides, but why we really like to use them is because of their safety,” Poche’ said. “That’s something they really focus on.”

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

“During our Sunday dinner, which begins at 11 a.m., we will have a storyteller and other entertainment for the kids in a closed room,” Poche’ said. “So the parents don’t have to worry about their children wandering away while they enjoy their gumbo  and potato salad.”

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 Festival is free.

For a complete listing of event times and bands, see the ad on 11B.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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