Thursday, October 22, 2015
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH – With beautiful weather this weekend, the 42nd Annual Andouille Festival was the place to be for a smokin’ good time. More than 20,000 festival goers attended the festival presented by Marathon Petroleum Company LP at the Thomas F. Daley Memorial Park and the St. John Community Center. This was an increase from 2014 of about 2,000 visitors.
For the first time in the festival's long history, over $130,000 was solicited in sponsorships and in-kind donations to offset the cost to the parish. Marathon Petroleum Company served as the presenting sponsor. “Marathon Petroleum Company LP is extremely pleased with the outcome of the Andouille Festival this past weekend. It was fun to see so many people having a great time,” said Leroy St. Pierre, Community Relations Representative for Marathon Petroleum Company, LP. “We feel our sponsorship strengthened our partnership with St. John the Baptist Parish.”
The 2015 Miss Andouille Queen Madison King and Teen Andouille Queen Tabitha Tregre reigned over the festival which featured great food, music, rides, bands, games, arts and crafts, children’s activities and other entertainment. Andouille was featured in dishes ranging from jambalaya and gumbo to andouille corn dogs and shrimp & andouille grits. Other foods such as po’boys, chicken wings, hamburgers and onion mums were also available.
On Friday, adults were admitted to the festival with a donation of one non-perishable food item which will be donated to the St. John Ministry of Care. Special attractions on Saturday included a second line parade, an annual andouille eating contest, and an andouille cook-off. New Birth Brass Band, LaPlace Elementary dance team and cheerleaders, the Pelicans dance team, revelers, big heads, and stilt walkers were among the parade participants. Koryn Hawthorne, singing sensation from season 8 of NBC's reality TV competition "The Voice" served as the Grand Marshal for the parade and also sang the National Anthem for the opening ceremony.
Sunday morning featured the 37th annual Andouille Run, a 5-mile run and 2-mile run/walk and the annual jazz brunch. New to the jazz bruch this year, attendees feasted on a variety of andouille and brunch dishes from 8 Parish restaurants. Throughout the weekend, the band line up included The Topcats, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters, Phunky Monkeys, Kayla Woodson, The Vettes, New Birth Brass Band, Dee-1, Off the Hook, Image, MoJeaux, Changing Times Band, Amanda Shaw & The Cute Guys, Category 6, Remedy, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Bag of Donuts. Lemmie Battles headlined the Gospel Tent on Sunday.
“The 42nd Annual Andouille Festival was a huge success and was a great time to visit with family and friends. With absolutely beautiful weather and months of planning and preparation by my staff, employees and the festival committee, everything went off without a hitch,” said Parish President Natalie Robottom. She added, "They did an awesome job all weekend. We want to thank Marathon for being our presenting sponsor and all of the other sponsors who helped to make the festival a success. And most of all thanks to the vendors, volunteers, performers and attendees who worked together for the good of the community.”
The Andouille Festival was founded in 1972 at the LaPlace drag strip as a fundraiser for the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department. The festival has evolved into a parish-sponsored event that supports non-profit organizations, schools and local businesses, while providing a wholesome, fun-filled weekend for residents and visitors.