St. John the Baptist Parish offered residents and visitors a smokin' good time Oct. 17-19 when it hosted the 41st St. John Andouille Festival. Festivities were held at U.S. 51 Park and the St. John Community Center in LaPlace.
On Oct. 17, adults were allowed to enter the festival by donating a non-perishable food item for Second Harvesters Food Bank.Lowery Amusement rides, bands, games, arts and crafts, children's activities and other entertainment were among the attractions. 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 also were available.
This year, organizers said, a greater variety of entertainment, events, rides, vendors, and program partners promoting St. John the Baptist Parish as "The Andouille Capital of the World" were featured.
The 2014 Miss Andouille Queen Erin Duhe and Teen Andouille Queen Riley Edwards reigned over the festival. On Oct. 18, the first Andouille second line parade was held. The New Birth Brass Band, Pelicans dance team, St. Peter School cheer and dance teams, Torri Lynn's School of Dance, revelers, big heads, and stilt walkers were among the parade participants.
Other special attractions on Oct. 18 included the second annual andouille eating, and the annual gumbo cook-off. On Oct. 19, the 36th annual Andouille Run, a 5-mile run and 2-mile run/walk was held. The annual jazz brunch was held Oct. 19. “The Andouille Festival is rich with pride, culture and diversity and yields great family fun and an overall rewarding experience for all," said Parish President Natalie Robottom.
Bands that performed were Christian Serpas and Ghost Town, Bayou Breeze, Phunky Monkeys, Gregg Martinez and the Delta Kings, New Birth Brass Band, Shawna Russell, Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs, Image, Louisiana Spice, Changing Times, Louis Ford, Kayla Woodson, Mulligan Brothers, Mojeaux, and Rockin' Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters.
A children's art tent that was opened throughout the weekend featured canvas art painting as well as painting of a mural. Professional artists worked with children ages 5-12. Art classes for sixth through eighth grade at local schools also were invited to participate in an apron art contest.
The festival was founded in 1972 at the LaPlace drag strip as a fund-raiser for the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department. The festival has evolved into a parish-sponsored event that supports non-profit organizations and local businesses, while providing a wholesome, fun-filled weekend for residents and visitors, organizers said.