While organizers of the Alligator Festival are still planning to hold their fall event, the Louisiana Catfish Festival committee announced that its Sept. 18 festival has been cancelled due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases statewide.
Sheena Candies, a Catfish Festival organizer, said she and others involved in the planning process were devastated to have to cancel the festival for the second year in a row.
“This decision was a very difficult one as we know everyone just wants to get back to a normalcy, however with the rise in covid cases across Louisiana we had to consider the safety of our visitors and volunteers,” she said. “The COVID-19 virus has put a damper on all of us financially, physically and emotionally.”
The festival was established in 1975 by Rev. William McCallion as a fundraiser for St. Gertrude the Great Catholic Church. The church was set to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the festival in 2020, but the pandemic cancelled that celebration. To make up for lost revenue – the festival brought in an average of $40,000 a year – local parishioners including Candies pivoted to organizing craft fairs to keep the church afloat.
This year the plans were to hold a one-day festival with no rides but with the traditional fair foods and bands. In place of the festival, Candies said the church will now host a drive-thru lunch on Sept. 18 that will consist of the option of fried catfish or shrimp platters, po-boys or boats.
“There will also be an abundance of homemade sweets available for purchase,” she said, adding the winner of the 50/50 raffle will be selected at the lunch. “We invite everyone to come out and still support the Catfish Festival and St. Gertrude Catholic Church … all proceeds will go to the church.”
Tickets for the 50/50 are being sold after mass or can be purchased by messaging the festival’s Facebook page. The festival committee is also selling festival T-shirts as a fundraiser. Order forms can be found by visiting www.Louisianacatfishfestival.com.
Candies said at this time a craft fair is still planned for November, and that updates on that would be posted on the festival’s Facebook page.