River Parishes fest will offer food, music, rides

The River Parishes Fall Festival has been a hit since the late 1970s, when the event first began at Norco’s Sacred Heart of Jesus School as a penny party.

It has since evolved into one of the most popular annual events in the region, and festivalgoers are in for another weekend of great food, music, company and fun as the event kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday and runs through Sunday.

“Typically we have large amounts of people that come from not only in our community but outside of it,” said Laura Delaneuville of Sacred Heart. “It’s an opportunity for parishioners and the community to come together and share a sense of family and community we feel defines Sacred Heart.

“The festival has been a huge success since the late 1970s and we always get a lot of great feedback.”

The first day of the festival will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday. Saturday’s festivities run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sunday, it again opens at 11 a.m. and runs to 9 p.m.

Delaneuville expects another strong turnout.

“Even parishioners that have moved out the parish have come back to support the festival,  to work  and volunteer and to share in that sense of family,” she said. “It’s evolved over the years and we always love to host.”

There will be live music all weekend, starting with the band Karma, which will perform 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday night. On Saturday, Giacomo plays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. before handing it off to Weathered from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Sunday, Faith Becnel takes the stage from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. before Supercharger closes the festival out from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The event also features an expanded menu from years past.

Among the delicious festival food delights one will come across includes jambalaya, fried soft shell crabs, gumbo, fried oysters, funnel cakes, pulled pork, onion mums, fried shrimp, boudin balls, burgers, pastalaya, fried catfish and sausage on a bun.

A new attraction that began last year is an alumni tent where Sacred Heart alumni can visit and reminisce with one another.

“It’s a chance to share again those special times they’ve had attending Sacred Heart. It’s a nice thing we have now that’s a little different than what we’ve done in years past,” Delaneuville said.

The fest also plays host to a variety of rides and games.

Attendees may choose to purchase pay-one-price ride bands if they choose — $75 for the whole weekend, $40 for Saturday and Sunday, and $20 for specific time windows on each day (6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday).

On Sunday, the festival will host the annual Queen of Hearts Pageant at 12:30 p.m. at the Sacred Heart cafeteria.

Other attractions are a craft fair held Saturday (noon to 8 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.), a Sunday dinner of chicken spaghetti, salad, bread and dessert, and a Bingo game on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Sacred Heart of Jesus School is located at 453 Spruce St. in Norco.

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