Celebrating Spring in the South

I love and enjoy all the seasons for many reasons, the most important of which is because they bring new opportunity and meaning to age-old traditions, but I particularly love Spring. Days brighten, Mother Nature blooms and blossoms, and little birds tweet their tunes nonstop (and usually right outside your home office window while you’re trying to work!). It’s the time of year when afternoons stretch their way towards those gorgeous, colorful sunsets, local snowball stands open, outdoor hangouts with family and/or friends fire up, lovebugs swarm in, and crawfish boils come to life. Spring just brings out the love and liveliness in people and particularly for me, Spring in South Louisiana signals the start of three things: food, fun with family and friends, and festivals.

While April officially marks the start of festival season, it doesn’t literally mark the start, as many festivals start around the end of March. Festival season lasts from now well into the dog days of Sum—okay, Fall. Almost every weekend, and sometimes during the week, you’ll find outdoor concerts, parties, live performances, and general revelry oozing out of just about every city. It’s just that time of year, the time to start playing and exploring.

Particularly in Spring, there’s an abundance of fresh produce in our state, like strawberries and peaches. One of my favorite memories as a kid is going to the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival. Who doesn’t love that first bite into a big, juicy strawberry that screams, “You’re in South Louisiana, baby!” And don’t forget about the Louisiana Peach Festival, and the Beauregard Watermelon Festival. But if fruit isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Check out the Scott Boudin Festival April 5-7, the Baton Rouge Soul Food Festival May 20-21, or the Gonzales Jambalaya Festival May 24-26.

And then, of course, there are the crawfish festivals!

But what’s food without culture? Louisiana is home to some of the coolest culture and heritage festivals, and if visiting some of these hasn’t been on your to-do list, I highly recommend making the time to do so this season. You won’t regret it.

Lafayette is hosting Festival International de Louisiane April 24-28, which celebrates South Louisiana’s French cultural heritage and features local and international musicians and artists. Rayne is holding their 51st annual Rayne Frog Festival May 11-13, Krotz Springs holds the Sportsmen’s Heritage Festival May 30-June 1, and Lake Charles soon unfolds with the Louisiana Pirate Festival.

Arguably though, the most popular festivals in Louisiana are the music festivals, our heart and soul. Some extremely popular Spring festivals to hit are the Baton Rouge Blues Festival, which kicks off April 19 and runs through the 21st, the Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival, which is goin’ down May 10-11, New Orleans’  French Quarter Festival, which runs April 11-14, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which spans April 25 – May 5 this year.

However you choose to celebrate Spring, do so with deep awareness and appreciation, and with the ones you love. And have fun!