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Take a step back in time at Destrehan Plantation Festival

Jonathan Menard -   Nov 08, 2012

Visitors to the Destrehan Plantation Fall Festival will learn about life in the 1800s.
Visitors to the Destrehan Plantation Fall Festival will learn about life in the 1800s.

More than 150 artists and crafts vendors from throughout the country will peddle their pottery, jewelry, ceramics and fleur de lis items at the 41st annual Destrehan Plantation Fall Festival this weekend.

The festival is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and draws around 15,000 people each year, according to Nancy Robert, the executive director of Destrehan Plantation.

A past winner of Southeast Tourismís Top 20 Events and the Louisiana Fairs and Festivals Classics Award, the fest has become a favorite for those who love Louisiana food, crafts and music. The local dishes available at the festival include jambalaya, pastalaya, fried seafood, shrimp pasta, stuffed crabs, roasted corn and onion mums. Two bands will also perform during the event.

For just $7 per person and no charge for children 12 and under, visitors can take a step back in time by touring the plantation and watching time period demonstrations, including open-hearth cooking, bousillege construction and indigo dyeing. This year, the festival will commemorate the Bicentennial of Louisiana Statehood and recognize the role Jean Noel Destrehan played in the statehood process. A grand re-opening of the Jefferson Room will allow visitors to view a document signed by Thomas Jefferson in a state-of-the-art museum room. The Galley Room has also been fully restored and includes original family documents recently acquired from Paris.

"With the restoration of the Gallery Room, that now means that every room in the house has been restored," Robert said. "In the Gallery Room, visitors will get the story of the familyís travels between St. Louis and Destrehan and how important the river was at that time."

Visitors can also jump back into the present with face painting, pony rides, Euro-bungy jumping and a space walk.

This yearís entertainment line-up includes Reed Allemand on Saturday and LO2 (formerly Local Option 2) on Sunday. Both will perform from noon until 4 p.m.

LO2 plays rock, dance, R&B and funk music, while Reed Alleman is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who has been playing his own brand of folk rock music for more than 20 years.

The festival will also be an opportunity for crafty parishioners to browse more than 150 arts and crafts booths. The booths will include a variety of wares, including pottery, jewelry, dolls, stained glass, ceramics, fleur de lis items and more.

Antique dealers from throughout the state will also peddle their wares in the plantationís Mule Barn.

"This is a true success story," Robert said of the festival. "This is our 41st year and the funds that the festival gains go right back into plantation house. We have furnished the home completely and have gone back to 1840s restoration. We really are one of the premier historical houses in Louisiana and this festival is not only a lot of fun, but it is for a good cause."

Full tours of the plantation will also be available for a small fee.

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