One of the most entertaining special events in St. Charles Parish throughout the years has been the annual Alligator Festival held on the last weekend of every September.
And this year’s spectacle will be this weekend (Sept. 24 – 27).
The annual event was started 36 years ago by the St. Charles Rotary Club to let the world know we are one of the world’s top producers of alligators for use as a food and garment item.
The season for hunting alligators is short, mainly in September. And the rest of the year, the colorful reptiles are allowed to swim around freely in our bayous and lakes and walk in our wetlands where they make an exciting addition without being disturbed.
The festival this year will begin next week on Thursday night from 6 to 9 p.m. with rides and limited food and drink options available.
But rides, live bands, games, food and other entertainment will be featured throughout the rest of the weekend. And live alligators will be on hand to show their respect to all of the attention paid to them.
The festival is held annually at the West Bank Bridge Park beneath the Hale Boggs Bridge and across River Road from the 7.1 mile public path atop the levee.
And those who attend are encouraged this year to bicycle their way to the festival by using the levee path.
By using that approach to the festival, goers will be able to view the riverside scenery, avoid traffic and get a little exercise. And those who bike there will receive a commemorative “I Biked to the Fest” sticker upon request at the entrance gates. They are encouraged to start out from nearby parks adjacent to the levee.
Incidentally, a large population of gators have been reported swimming in the Davis Pond River Diversion Project area where it enters the Mississippi River in Luling, not far from the Hale Boggs Bridge. Perhaps visitors to the Alligator Festival can ride by there and have a spectacular view of gators enjoying the beautiful waters of St. Charles Parish.
The gators are probably attracted to the diversion that brings some food to them there by the project that helps protect our wetlands. And we are happy to benefit them if the diversion does its part in saving our coast.