Get your gator on

Gustav, Ike can’t keep spirit of 29th annual festival down

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike did their best to wreak havoc on St. Charles Parish, but they couldn’t keep the Alligator Festival down.

The festival is not only on, but is back in full-force, beginning on Sept. 25 and lasting until Sept. 28 at the West Bank Bridge Park in Luling. The festival is known for its exotic Louisiana cuisine, and this year will not disappoint. Culinary delights such as alligator sauce piquant, jambalaya, crawfish monica, shrimp po-boys, burgers and barbecue will be available, as will sweet treats like funnel cake.

There will also be plenty of rides, including roaring roller coasters for the teens and merry-go-rounds for the younger children.

“So, parents need to bring their kids and kids need to bring their grandparents,” Rotarian Julie Hebert said. “There’s food and fun for everyone.”

One of the highlights of the festival every year is the music, and this year there is a wide-range of styles from zydeco to country to rock ‘n’ roll.

Bag of Donuts, Local Option 2, Full Circle, The WiseGuys, Louisiana Kids, Allen Fontenot & The Country Cajuns, Waylon Thibodeaux, and The Topcats will all perform this year.
Bag of Donuts has won three awards for being the best cover band in New Orleans and performed at the 2003 Jazz Fest. Local Option 2 plays several musical genres such as rock, dance, R&B, funk and oldies, while Louisiana Kids is a non-profit organization that uses the performing arts as a vehicle to develop self-esteem and character in children. Two members of Louisiana Kids recently won first and second place in a Nashville-based vocal competition.

New Orleans legend Allen Fontenot has performed at 26 straight New Orleans Festivals and is known as one of the best fiddlers in Cajun music. He has appeared on Good Morning America and Austin City Limits. Like Fontenot, Waylon Thibodeaux is a state fiddler champion who began playing professionally at the age of 13. Thibodeaux has performed nationally and internationally with the likes of Tony Orlando, Wayne Toups, Jimmy Newman and Bruce Daigrepont.

The Topcats also have an impressive resume and have been performing together for 25 years. They were inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and have been voted the Best Cover Band by Offbeat Magazine six times. The group plays music that varies from funk and disco to pop, rap and classic rock.

Besides the rides, food and music, festival goers will also be able to get in a little shopping. The Rotarian’s outlet will sell commemorative Alligator Festival shirts as well as a collector’s edition of the Alligator Festival 2008 hand-signed print that will be unveiled at the festival. Crafters are also going to be set up in the “outdoor mall” area with everything from pieces of art to items for children.

On Sept. 25, rides and drinks will be made available from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The full festival will be open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sept. 26 and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sept. 27. On Sept. 28, the festival will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Entertainment Schedule

Friday, Sept. 26 – Bag of Donuts – 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 27 – Local Option 2 – 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 27 – Full Circle – 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 27 – The WiseGuys – 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 28 – LA Kids – 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 28 – Allen Fontenot – 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 28 – Waylon Thibodeaux – 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 28 – The Topcats – 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Below is a list of “Pay-One-Price” ride times with price

Thursday, Sept. 25 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.  – $12
Friday, Sept. 26 from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. – $20
Saturday, Sept. 27 from 11a.m. – 5 p.m.  – $20
(Individual ride tickets must be purchased after 5 p.m. on Saturday)
Sunday, Sept. 28 from 11a.m. – 4 p.m. and
again from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. – $20


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