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Bayou State bashes abound throughout the year. Louisiana festivals are known for celebrating unique Creole cuisine, French and Acadian heritage, music spanning genres like jazz, Zydeco, and blues, industry, history, and culture.
Here are 10 annual festivals you must attend in the Creole State:
1. MARDI GRAS
Let's get this one out of the way. New Orleans' famous Mardi Gras celebration is not just an event in Crecent City – it's a season.
Known as the Greatest Free Show on Earth, this multi-day festival is held in the Big Easy's downtown sector along St. Charles Avenue, Canal Street, Magazine Street, and of course, Bourbon Street.
2. ANDOUILLE FESTIVAL
Held in the Andouille Capital of the World, the annual Andouille Festival takes place in late October in La Place. Celebrate sausage in the heart of Plantation Country on Lake Pontchartrain.
3. NO JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL
Back in the Big Easy, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is a week-long food, music, and arts celebration held from late April to early May.
Set at the Fair Grounds Race Course, the event features some of the most famous musicians in the world.
4. CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Held the first weekend of December, the Christmas Festival of Lights takes place in the Natchitoches Historic District.
This holiday event draws more than 100,000 annual attendees to Natchitoches and central Louisiana.
5. FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL
Drawing nearly 600,000 people, the annual French Quarter Festival is held each April in – you guessed it – the historic Vieux Carré of New Orleans. The three-day Cajun, Creole, Zydeco, blues, jazz, and rock music fest also features the World's Largest Jazz Brunch – and is considered the Largest Free Festival in the South.
6. SATCHMO SUMMER FEST
Last one for Nawlins. The Satchmo Summer Fest is a three-day event held in mean, muggy August at the Old U.S. Mint. Inspired by legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong, the celebration offers seminars, speakers, and tons of live jazz.
7. PONCHATOULA STRAWBERRY FEST
Held annually in mid-April, the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival is set in Ponchatoula's Memorial Park.
Set in southeastern Louisiana near Hammond, this free festival was established in 1972 to celebrate Louisiana's strawberry farmers, and today offers food, games, and live entertainment.
8. LOUISIANA FOREST FESTIVAL
Set for the fourth Saturday of April, the Louisiana Forest Festival is located in Winnfield in north-central Louisiana.
Yet another free event, the festival features a food, games, entertainment, a beauty pageant, and a bass tournement on Lake Saline – all to celebrate Louisiana's timber industry.
9. FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DE LOUISIANE
Attracting over 400,000 visitors, the Festival International de Louisiane is held each April in downtown Lafayette in the heart of Cajun Country. FIL celebrates the dense Acadian, French, and Creole cultures with Cajun cooking, music, and shopping.
10. RED RIVER REVEL
Located on the Red River, the annual Red River Revel is held each October in northern Louisiana. Attendees have made their way to Festival Plaza in Shreveport's Downtown Riverfront sector for food, art, and entertainment since 1976.