St. John gears up for 38th festival

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 13, 2009



LAPLACE – While parish employees and carnival ride operators are beginning to prep the grounds of the St. John Community Center in advance of this weekend’s Andouille Festival, parish officials are putting the finishing touches on the three-day event’s schedule.

Festival goers who make their way out to the parish’s premiere celebration of all things andouille will be treated to more rides, more parking, more music and just more stuff to do than in previous years of the festival, said St. John Parish Acting Chief Administrative Officer Buddy Boe.

“This year’s festival, as it has in the past, will serve as a true party for the entire River Parishes region,” Boe said. “Our only hope is that the weather cooperates throughout the weekend.”

The parish has booked 21 musical acts, up from 15 last year, which will perform on two stages all weekend. The music kicks off Friday with local favorites The TopCats as headliners. In addition to the music, Boe said the parish has booked a flame throwing fire dancer to perform during certain musical acts. A complete list of acts and a schedule can be found at

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, indoor and outdoor restrooms, and an expanded parking area.

Boe said festival organizers have also created a community/ kids stage that will feature free pony rides, a petting zoo with kangaroos, sheep and llamas, free face painting and free pictures with various costumed actors. The St. John Sheriff’s Office will also be on hand to sign kids up to DARE programs.

Marquee events for Sunday include the 31st annual Andouille run, which is a five-mile run or two-mile walk starting at 8:30 a.m., and the first annual Andouille Brunch inside the St. John Community Center Atrium starting at 9:30 a.m. Boe said the brunch, which is $20 per person, would include jazz band entertainment from the Yat Pack.

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 the festival will further emphasize the many craft booths.

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

In the past, the Andouille Festival revenue went toward funding for the parish’s volunteer fire department until the parish assumed operation of the festival in 1992.

Presently, 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.

 2009 Music Schedule

Friday, Oct. 16

St. John Group Gumbo Stage

6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Deja Voo

8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Louisiana’s LeRoux

9:30 p.m. – 9:45 p.m.: Fire Dancers

9:45 p.m. – midnight: TopCats

Jambalaya Stage

9 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Fire Dancers

9:30 p.m. – midnight: Flashback

Saturday, Oct. 17

St. John Group Gumbo Stage

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Summer Breeze

3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.: T. Graham Brown

5 p.m. – 8 p.m.: TroubleShooters

8 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Fire Dancers

8:30 p.m. – midnight: Chicken on the Bone

Jambalaya Stage

11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Gina Brown & Anutha Level

2 p.m. – 5 p.m.: Gal Holiday & Honky Tonk Revue

5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Ruff N Ready

8:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Fire Dancers

9 p.m. – 12 a.m.: Cypress Rocks

Sunday, Oct. 18

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.: Jazz Brunch in the St. John Center Atrium featuring music by The Yat Pack

St. John Group Gumbo Stage

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Soul Vaxxination

3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.: Wayne Toups & Zy DeCajun

5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Fire Dancers

6 p.m. – 10 p.m.: Mojeaux

Jambalaya Stage

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Berthena featuring David Batiste & The Gladiators

2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Ronnie Dents

4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Jake Smith

7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.: Kayla Woodson & Louisiana Lightning

Events Schedule

Face painting – Saturday and Sunday during the day for children free; Friday, Saturday and Sunday night for adults – free

Miniature Pony Rides – Saturday and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. Children’s pictures taken on the pony – free

Presentation of all Andouille Pageant Winners 1 p.m. Saturday; Andouille Miss & Teen Queen Pictures – 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday – free

Apron Contest – 3 p.m. Saturday

Gumbo Cook-Off – 2 p.m. Saturday – Winner announced at 3:15p.m.

Andouille Toss – Saturday and Sunday starting at noon

31st Annual Andouille Run – 8:30 a.m. Sunday