The more than 30,000 visitors expected at this weekend’s Alligator Festival will get to sample some of the best food in south Louisiana, browse unique arts and crafts and rock out to a wide variety of bands that will please any musical connoisseur.
The food is always the highlight of the Alligator Festival, put on by the Rotary Club of St. Charles Parish. This year’s tasty dishes include everything alligator – from alligator burgers and alligator sauce piquante to alligator sausage and fried alligator. South Louisiana delicacies such as crawfish pasta, shrimp po-boys, pastalaya and crab cakes will also entice their fair share of hungry fest goers.
More common offerings like burgers, barbecue, nachos and funnel cake will be available for those who want to avoid taking a walk on the culinary wild side. Mixed drinks, hurricanes and daiquiris will be sold as well.
This year’s festival begins Thursday, Sept. 26 and lasts until Sunday, Sept. 29. While the festival is known for its delicious cuisine, there will also be plenty of rides for those of all ages.
8 bands will perform
For those that want to sit in their lawn chairs and relax or boogie on the dance floor, there will be a wide-range of musical styles from zydeco to country to rock ‘n’ roll.
The Wiseguys, The Topcats, Michael Aaron and the Strays, Paper Steamboat, Category 6, Louisiana Kids, Waylon Thibodeaux and Christian Serpas & Ghost Town will all perform this year.
As they have for years, The Topcats will close down the festival on Sunday. The group has performed together for nearly three decades and were inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2005. They have been voted the “Best Cover Band in New Orleans” by Offbeat Magazine several times. The group plays music that varies from funk and disco to pop, rap and classic rock.
Category 6, who perform from 8-11 p.m. on Saturday, feature Kris LaCoste, who is the former lead singer of The Chee-Weez. The band showcases an elaborate and unique light show and offers a variety of music from Pink to Linkin Park. The Wiseguys, who put their own spin on popular R&B and soul hits from the 60s mixed with newer hits from today, close out the fest on Friday night.
Unique crafts for sale
While jamming out and chowing down at the festival, visitors will also be able to get in a little shopping. Twenty-nine crafts vendors will sell everything from leather goods to home decor to handmade jewelry.
Their will also be a face painting booth, toys, a psychic reader and light up team accessories for the Saints and LSU.
Alligator merchandise, including posters and T-shirts, will be sold as well.
The festival will also have live baby alligators that can be held by the public.
5K race offered
The Alligator Stomp, a 5K race, will take runners and walkers along the scenic Mississippi River on the paved levee pathway on Saturday. Race registration begins Thursday at the festival at 6 p.m. and continues until 8 a.m. on Sept. 28 at the West Bank Bridge Park.
The race begins at 9:10 a.m. on Sept. 28 and registration is $25.
There will also be a half-mile race for younger children and all those who enter either race will be allowed into the festival free of charge. Registration for the half-mile race is $15 for those between the ages of 13-17. Those 12 years old and under will get to race for free. The half-mile race begins at 9 a.m. Prizes, which include ride bracelets and commemorative posters, will be given to the top finishers of each race.
Festival gates open at 6 p.m. on Thursday
The festival is open from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Thursday for rides and limited concessions only and from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Friday.
On Saturday the festival will open at 11 a.m. and close at 11 p.m., while on Sunday it will open at 11 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.
Admission to the festival is $1.
All proceeds from the festival are used to offer scholarships to parish students. Additionally, a Vocational Scholarship will be awarded to a student from each of the schools.
Additional proceeds will be utilized to fund various community programs in keeping with the Rotarian motto “Service above Self.”
For a complete band schedule and the pay-one-price ride times, see the ad on page 4A or visit www.alligatorfestival.org.