Frisco Fest kicking off plantation festival season March 10, 11

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 29, 2012

By David Vitrano


GARYVILLE – Now that the madness of Mardi Gras is over for another year, it is time to gear up for festival season in south Louisiana, and as in years past San Francisco Plantation in Garyville will be getting the season under way with its ninth annual Frisco Fest.

The plantation’s annual springtime celebration will be held March 10 and 11.

“We kind of kick it off,” said San Francisco Plantation General Manager Kim Fontenot.

Although the festival is always the first of the local plantation festivals, the early date sometimes means the festival is competing with other events, like last year when Frisco Fest fell on the weekend after Mardi Gras. This year, however, River Parishes residents have no excuse to miss this year’s event, which, as always, helps fund the preservation of this National Historic Landmark. Plus, with Daylight Savings Time beginning that weekend, there should be plenty of sunshine to check out the festivals more than 100 vendors, who will be selling items ranging from clothes and jewelry to art and houseplants.

“We have vendors with just so many handmade things,” said Fontenot.

Of course, the draws do not end with the vendors. The weekend will also feature the return of the Top 25 Car Show, a cracklin’ contest and both a 25-mile and a 40-mile bike tour along scenic River Road. Then Sunday kicks off with a one-mile run at 8:30 a.m. and a 5K run at 9 a.m. All runners will also receive a commemorative T-shirt.

Also on Sunday is the annual cook off in which local chefs as well as teams from local businesses and industry will show off their skill in the kitchen. The food from the cook off will join the usual local Cajun/creole festival fare cooked up by Poncho Roussel and his crew.

Sunday will also feature music from Geno Delafose and the French Rockin’ Boogie from noon until 3 p.m.

In addition to all of this, Frisco Fest will once again have a section dedicated to entertaining the younger festivalgoers.

“It’s a realy good family event,” said Aspen Steib, Marathon Community Relations representative and one of the festival’s organizers. “There’s always so much for the kids to do.”

Children’s activities include a petting zoo, pony rides, a rock climbing wall, Eurobungee and more.

This year’s festival will also feature a special booth commemorating 100 years of history in Garyville, which will be helmed by some local experts.

“They know a lot of oral history,” said Steib.

With so much going on over the weekend, it is no wonder planning for the event begins about a year in advance, with a core group of about 18 individuals doing the brunt of the planning. In addition to the many corporate and individual sponsors that provide financial support for the festival, the festival also utilizes numerous volunteers to help make sure things go smoothly throughout the weekend.

“But we’re always looking for more,” said Planning Committee member John Fuselier.

Another new idea San Francisco Plantation has employed this year is utilizing Facebook to promote this year’s festival.

“We tried to target a different demographic this year,” said Steib.

One can link to the Facebook page by visiting

“It’s really changed a lot with all the new technology,” said Fontenot. “You reach folks you never thought you would reach.”

Still the primary focus of Frisco Fest remains providing a day of fun and entertainment for the local community.

“We would really like more local participation,” said Fontenot. “We’re hoping everyone’s going to come out and support the plantation this year.”

Frisco Fest takes place this year on March 10 and 11 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Admission for adults and children over 12 is $5. Children under 12 get in free. Tours of the house are available for $10 all weekend long.

Registration for any of the events can be completed in advance or the morning of the event.

For more information or to volunteer for the event, call 1-888-322-1756.

Also, look for San Francisco Plantation on the local airwaves as WWL reporter Bill Capo will be paying a visit to the plantation today.

San Francisco Plantation is located at 2646 Louisiana Highway 44 (River Road) in Garyville.