Whether a car fanatic, a crafts enthusiast or even someone who’s feeling rather hungry, Luling’s Westbank Bridge Park is your place to be this Saturday.
The Louisiana L-Eye-A Cookoff debuts beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, featuring a jambalaya and pastalaya cookoff, a car show and arts and crafts vending booths among its attractions.
And for the public, the price is right – just about perfect, in fact, as entry is free of charge.
The event is a collaboration between the Luling and Hahnville Lions Club chapters and the Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation, which seeks to provide vision and hearing care at low or no cost to the state’s residents.
The money raised from Saturday’s event goes toward paying for clinics, doctors, eye glasses and other services provided by the foundation. Every year, the Lions Club/Eye Foundation visits each school in St. Charles Parish and does eye screening on children ages 2 to 8 to detect possible early eye problems. The foundation refers the children needing care to doctors and provide free eye care and eye glasses. The foundation also provides these services to others in need of eye care in the parish as well.
“Citizens can be one year old to 100, we’ll refer them to one of our eye clinics and they can get free exams and free eye glasses,” said Phyllis Breaux, President of the Luling/Boutte Lions Club.
Those interested in participating in any of the featured events may register early, but do not have to – walk-up entries on the day of the event are accepted. The park will be open beginning at 6 a.m. for those teams arriving to begin cooking their jambalaya and pastalaya. There is a $50 entry fee for the cooking event, and $25 entry fees for the car show and the arts and crafts booth.
1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards will be issued to the top chefs in each cookoff event. For the car show, there will be 61 different awards to recognize various categories. There will also be music and several different entertainers participating; a food truck where one can buy hamburgers, popcorn, nachos, hot dogs and cold drinks; and a snowball truck to cool down from the summer heat.
“We feel like we’ll have something for everyone,” Breaux said. “This is our first year and it’s something we hope to continue every year going forward.”
As of last week, the early response was good for the car show and there was also a strong contingent of arts and crafts enthusiasts who confirmed their participation. Breaux said hopes were high that the cook-off numbers would spike this week.
All of it goes toward a good cause. The Lion’s Club is able to use a machine to read the pupil of the eye, which can potentially inform of problems – and potentially major ones, like cancer of the eye, early enough to intervene. Breaux said the Luling/Boutte chapter has been trying to raise money to add a cataracts machine to help the elderly population and allow for testing.
“We used to have one years ago, and it broke … it’s never been replaced, we didn’t have the funds,” Breaux said.
There are also plans to add a mobile trailer with an eye doctor that can visit different festivals and offer free eye exams for those attending.