Thousands of people will head to Des Allemands this weekend to pay tribute to the “Catfish Capital of the Universe” and its signature dish of fried catfish with white beans and rice.
“It’s just an old-fashioned family festival with a full slate of bands,” said the Rev. Ray A. Hymel, president of festival board. “We are popular for our bands that perform under our pavilion and people love the cool beer.”
The fair also will feature rides and local crafts that add their share of fun to the experience each year.
The Louisiana Catfish Festival kicks off on Friday, June 19, when the gates open to the St. Gertrude the Great Catholic Church fairgrounds at 5 p.m. The event boasts a great lineup of bands this year, including Aaron Foret, Rockin’ Oldies, Ross Grisham, Ryan Foret & Foret Tradition, The Chee Weez, the Don Rich band, Junior Lacrosse & Sumptin’ Sneaky, and Groovy 7.
Admission and parking are free.
Along with all things catfish, visitors will get to sample jambalaya, shrimp po-boys, soft shell crab po-boys, fried crab claws and fried egg rolls. That’s in addition to the regular fair food like hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, nachos, chili Fritos, funnel cakes, snowballs and homemade candy.
With rides, fest goers can purchase $25 bands each day so that they can ride the attractions as many times as they please. For $55, riders can purchase a mega band that offers admission to all rides throughout the weekend.
Several vendors will also be on hand to sell specialty items. Crafts typically include leather goods, woodwork, jewelry, purses, art paintings, airbrushing and more. Three monster trucks will be on display every day during the fest.A raffle will feature a handmade quilt by Louise Landeche, Plunk “Vergie” Naquin, Lupa Sweeney and Opal Dufrene.
Raffle tickets are $1 each.
Times for the festival are: Friday, June 19, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, June 20 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, June 21 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Rev. William McCallion founded the festival in 1975 to raise money for St. Gertrude the Great Catholic Church and to stimulate the economy. It has grown into one of the area’s most popular attractions.
Hymel also praised the Spahr family, owner of Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant in Des Allemands, for their generous help with the festival.
“St. Gertrude’s Parish is celebrating 60 years as a parish,” Hymel said. St. Gertrude’s was a mission of Our Lady of the Rosary in Hahnville until 1955 when it became an independent parish of its own. The early fests funded a parish hall and religious class building.
In 1975, then Gov. Edwin Edwards signed a proclamation declaring Des Allemands the Catfish Capital of the World, and in 1980 the Legislature passed a resolution naming it the Catfish Capital of the Universe.
All proceeds go to St. Gertrude The Great Catholic Church and the Archdiocese. The church is located at 17292 Hwy. 631 in Des Allemands.
For more information, and to see a complete schedule, visit the festival’s website at www.louisianacatfishfestival.com.