The alligator had just been taken off the endangered species list and some members of St. Charles Rotary Club were looking for an event to raise money for charitable causes.Bingo. Why not start an alligator festival to raise that money and also help create a new industry for the state.
Alligator meat could be a delicious food product. And a festival would help popularize it.
And so it began back in 1980. The first two festivals were very small, held in the driveway at Willowdale Country Club. Rotarians cooked the food themselves. It consisted of fried alligator and alligator sauce piquante and not much more. But it was a start and now the club and community are reaping the benefits..
As the festival was moved to larger quarters in Luling and Boutte to its present location at the West Bank Bridge Park, it has grown and grown to one of the major festivals in the state.
It is serving its purpose in many ways and also provides a weekend of fun for local residents and thousands of visitors each year.
The 2007 festival begins Thursday night with rides and continues Friday night, Saturday and Sunday with a full slate of entertainment.
Rotarians no longer cook the alligator dishes. Professionals and other civic groups provide booths for that purpose and the menu has been expanded considerably. There are now gatorburgers, gator on a stick and many other non-gator delicacies. And there is a great assortment of rides for kiddies and adults alike.
Some of the best bands in South Louisiana provide music for listening and dancing around the clock.
It’s time for St. Charles residents to take some time off from their regular routines this weekend and participate in the annual celebration that has become such a hit through the years. In a state filled with many imaginative and wonderful festivals, it is one of the best.
We should all go out and enjoy it this weekend.