Andouille Festival to feature more of everything

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 22, 2009


LAPLACE — When discussing plans for the parish’s annual celebration of all things andouille, the general line from St. John officials is more, more, more.

Festival goers who make their way out to the 2009 Andouille festival, scheduled for Oct. 16-18 on the grounds of the St. John Community Center, will be treated to more rides, more parking, more music and just more stuff to do.

“We are trying our best to provide more reasons for more people to stay at the festival longer,” said St. John Public Information Officer Buddy Boe. “We are trying to out do last year’s record attendance.”

Boe said 2008 attendance numbers, which topped out at 26,000, was the most in the last five years of the festival and nearly 10,000 more than 2007 attendance. He said the influx of people can be attributed to an expanded space.

“The move from the Percy Hebert Building to the grounds of the community center allowed us to triple the amount of ground space,” Boe said. “The space has allowed us to do more and the attendance has allowed us to do more since we are able to support more offerings with more people involved.”

The expansion of space has opened the doors for new events, including an andouille toss contest on the volleyball courts at Highway 51 Park, an apron contest and a gumbo cook-off, along with additional rides and an expanded parking area. Festival organizers have also created a community/kids stage that will feature pony rides, a petting zoo, St. John Sheriff’s Office DARE programs and other kid-friendly performances.

Boe said the increased popularity of the arts and crafts booths has prompted the parish to move the booths indoors to the community center main floor.

Boe said there would also be further emphasis on the many craft booths that populate the

“The area is cleaner, more comfortable and there is more space to move around,” Boe said.

The parish has done more marketing for the 2009 festival than ever before. This includes adding corporate sponsors, expanded press exposure and a comprehensive web site that details all aspects of this year’s event.

“The Andouille Festival has been the premier event in the parish since its early beginnings in the 1970’s,” said Parish President Bill Hubbard. “The more exposure we can get, the better. We want to make this into a weekend that showcases the parish.”

Boe said the parish has booked an eclectic lineup of musical acts, which is headlined by The Top Cats, Wayne Toups and Zy DeCajun, and Percy Sledge with Blue Eyed Soul. The festival will have two stages of non-stop music. A complete list of acts and a schedule can be found at

In the past, the Andouille Festival revenue went toward funding for the parish’s volunteer fire department. Today, proceeds from the weekend go to an assortment of community groups that run the various food booths throughout the grounds. Boe said the parish takes in revenue from drinks, ticket sales, ride revenue and fees from food and craft booths.

Anyone interested in applying for a craft or game booth can visit the festival web site or call the parish office of Economic Development at 985-652-9569.