Gonzales, LA

Jambalaya Festival in Gonzales celebrates 56th year this weekend

Tina Howell

The 56th annual Jambalaya Festival will be held this weekend Friday, May 26th- Sunday, May 28th in Gonzales, LA. The festival features arts and crafts, games, rides, live music, a car show, 5k and 1 mile run and of course, a jambalaya cookoff so bring your whole family to enjoy 3 days of fun!

Photo byJambalaya Festival website

The inspiration for the festival started way back in 1967 in the mind of Steve Juneau to promote the City of Gonzales. Juneau was a native of Avoyelles bit was very impressed with the Jambalaya prepared by area cooks. He thought this would be a great method to promote the city. The idea was presented to the Gonzales Lions Club and the annual Jambalaya Festival was born. As the idea spread across Ascension Parish, many non-profit civic groups and fraternal organizations were invited to get involved. The festival would be used as a vehicle to raise money for community projects supported by them. An executive committee was formed with Juneau was elected as the first president of the newly formed Jambalaya Festival Association.

Photo byGonzales Jambalaya Festival Facebook

On June 10, 1968, John J. McKeithen, Governor of Louisiana proclaimed Gonzales, Louisiana as the "Jambalaya Capital of the World." and in mid-June of 1968, the first Jambalaya Festival was held.

Photo byGonzales Jambalaya Festival Facebook

56th years later, the festival is still going strong, with tens of thousands of visitors from all over attending the event. This year, 85 cooks have signed up to participate in the jambalaya cooking contest. The first 4 heats are on Friday with heats 4-8 on Saturday and the semifinal and final rounds on Sunday. There is live music on 3 different stages daily. The 5k and 1 mile race will take place on Saturday morning and the car show will be held on Sunday.

Photo byleftatthefork.net

Admission into the festival is free but individual pricing for the carnival rides vary.

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Tina Howell is an editor-in-chief, writer, podcast host and interviewer who covers sports, food, music, festivals, news and more.

New Orleans, LA

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