The 40th annual St. John Andouille Festival was more than a year in the making. St. John parish officials had to cancel the 2012 October event to focus on hurricane recovery after Isaac devastated the parish last August.
This year, however, the St. John Economic Development Department welcomed many locals and visitors from neighboring communities who came out for a smokin' good time at the 2013 St. John Andouille Festival Oct. 18-20 in LaPlace.
The festival, a tribute to the parish's popular smoked sausage, was held at the St. John Civic Center on U.S. 51 in LaPlace. Bands, rides, arts and crafts and games highlighted the weekend. A gospel tent, Kids Zone, run/walk, an apron decorating contest, andouille cooking contest, silent auction, a jazz brunch featuring Quintin Gerard and a children's pageant also were featured.
Chris Cancienne won the first "The Dang Douille" andouille eating contest. Lisa Green won the andouille cooking contest. Sandy Guillot's eighth grade class at East St. John Elementary won the apron contest. In the two-mile run, JeVaughn Albert and Bisnan Caston were overall winnes. In the five-mile run, Nick Accardo and Sherri Thompson were overall winners.
In the Kids Zone, highlights were dance and karate demonstrations,"Dorothy's Trek to Oz," "Witch Class" storytelling, Jazzercise, and "Wizard in a Dither," storytelling were attractions for the Kids Zone. A kids art tent, sponsored by Marathon Petroleum Co., also was held.
Andouille, made of smoked pork, was featured in dishes ranging from jambalaya and gumbo to pasta and pizza. Other food such as hamburgers, hot dogs and onion mums were also available.
Proceeds from the festival benefit such nonprofit organizations as the LaPlace Rotary Club, the LaPlace and Reserve Lions clubs, the Knights of Columbus and local schools.
The Andouille Festival was started as a fund-raiser by the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department in 1972. After a one-year hiatus and several years of bouncing from place to place in LaPlace, Ormond Plantation in Destrehan sponsored the event in 1992 and 1993. In 1994, the St. John the Baptist Parish Economic Development Department brought the festival back to LaPlace.