33rd annual Festival of the Bonfires delivers winter-themed family fun

Published 11:06 pm Friday, November 11, 2022

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LAPLACE — The 33rd annual Festival of the Bonfires is a hallmark of seasonal family fun in the River Parishes, featuring live music, craft and food vendors, a gingerbread decorating contest and the lighting of the first bonfires of the 2022 holiday season.

The festival is held at Lutcher Park, located at 2545 Louisiana Avenue. Admission is $5, and children 5 and under and seniors 65 and older get in for free.

Friday and Saturday night will be highlighted by the lighting of a bonfire at 7 p.m. The lighting will take place on the levee Friday night with free shuttle transportation and on the festival grounds Saturday night to be accompanied by the annual fireworks show.

Doors will be open from 2 p.m. to midnight Friday, December 9. The opening day will feature music by Shot Time, Supercharger and Groovy 7, in addition to a gumbo cook-off contest.

The fun continues from 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday, December 10 with a Children’s Pageant, an appearance from Santa Claus, art/gingerbread contest judging, children’s entertainment, the Miss/Teen Pageant, and music from RetroActive, Jonathon “Boogie” Long, the Chase Tyle Band and the Chee-Weez.

The final day of the festival will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, December 11. Sunday’s events include the 5K and Kids’ Fun Run, a car show, and more children’s entertainment and appearances from Santa. Mike Broussard and Night Train and Ryan Foret & Foret Tradition will take the stage to close out the weekend.

Please see the below information for specific events related to this year’s festival:


Festival of the Bonfires Pageant


The Festival of the Bonfires committee is looking for girls between the ages of 13-23 from St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes to compete in the 33rd annual Miss Festival of the Bonfires Pageant (ages 17-23) and the 24th annual Teen Miss Festival of the Bonfires Pageant (ages 13-16). For more information, please email festivalofthebonfirespageants@yahoo.com. There will be an informational meeting Monday, November 21 at 5 p.m. at Creole House. Contestants must attend or make prior arrangements if unable to attend. The deadline to enter is Monday, November 21.


5K/ Children’s Fun Run


This year’s 5K will look a little different. Instead of following a neighborhood route, the run will now take place on the Veterans Memorial Bridge. The route will start on the West Bank of the Veterans Memorial Bridge and end on the East near the Welcome Center.

The Kids’ Fun Run will still take place at the bottom of the East Bank of the Veterans Memorial Bridge before the 5K.  Interested individuals can sign up online using the QR code, clicking the active website, or filling out the forms found of the festival’s website.

The Fun Run begins at 8:30 a.m., and the 5K begins at 9 a.m. Entry prior to November 27 is $35 with a T-Shirt (or $25 with no T-Shirt) for the 5K and $20 with a T-shirt (or $10 without a T-shirt) for the Fun Run. T-shirt options will not be available for those who register after November 27.

Awards will be given for first place overall male and female and first place overall male and female master (age 40+). Finisher medals will be given to all participants.

Registration takes place at the St. James Parish Welcome Center. Overflow parking will be at the Golden Grove Truck Stop. There will be a shuttle transporting runners from Golden Grove Truck Stop to the Welcome Center. The last shuttle will run at 8:45 a.m. Refreshments including pastalaya, water, soft drinks and fruit will be offered at the Welcome Center following the race.

For more information, contact Ashley Hymel at Festivalofthebonfires5krun@gmail.com


Gingerbread Contest


Back by popular demand, the gingerbread contest will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, December 10. There will be four age categories: Individual Child 5-10, Individual Youth 11-17, Individual Adult 18 & up, and Family (parents, children, grandchildren, etc.).

All entries must be constructed on a sturdy base no larger than 18” x 18”. All bases may be wrapped or covered with non-edible material such as paper, foil, cloth or plastic. However, the entire display aside from the base must be built with all edible materials, and some gingerbread must be used. Materials such as wrappers, sticks, Styrofoam or other support materials are not permitted and will result in disqualification.

For more information, contact Jamie Vicknair at 504-491-4274 or jvick623@gmail.com. Additional rules and entry information is available at www.festivalofthebonfires.org


  • Brooke R. Cantrelle contributed to this report