Thousands of hungry people will head to Luling’s West Bank Bridge Park on Thursday to stuff themselves with all the gumbo and jambalaya they can eat.
Since entry is just $5, the United Way of St. Charles’ Battle for the Paddle is more than a bargain.
Last year the event broke records after 109 teams cooked either jambalaya or gumbo, which enticed 4,000 people to attend. The United Way raised more than $30,000 at the culinary event.
This year a record 121 teams have already signed up to cook.Melissa Frederick, campaign and marketing director for the United Way of St. Charles, said the Battle for the Paddle continues to grow every year and doesn’t look to slow anytime soon.
“It’s such a fun, family-friendly event our community looks forward to every year. Where else will $5 get you over 120 bowls of gumbo and jambalaya? With more teams cooking than ever before, we know this year’s battle will be one to remember,” she said.
Gates will open at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2 and close at 8 p.m. Older patrons pay only $5 to eat as much as they like, while those 10 and under get into the event for free.
Attendees and participants can also enjoy live music, games and more.
The band Sac-A-Lait will perform during the evening while students from Destrehan High School will lead children in games and activities such as face painting and ring toss.
Free parking will be available at three locations on Judge Edward Dufresne Parkway, with free bus transportation to and from a designated bus stop near the entrance gates.
The event is meant to raise awareness about the services the United Way offers to the community and serves as their annual campaign kickoff. Funds generated at the Battle for the Paddle go to United Way programs and are used to support 30 other partner agencies.
All the money donated to the United Way of St. Charles stays in St. Charles Parish.
Along with jambalaya and gumbo, which will be judged by both the public and a panel comprised of local leaders, soft drinks and beer will be served at the event.
Prizes are awarded to the top three teams in both the gumbo and jambalaya competition, including the grand prize – an engraved wooden paddle.
Attendees can also vote for their favorite team to win the
“People’s Choice” award. All team members will receive participation prizes.