No. I did not change the name of my novel from The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival to The First Annual Bodacious Basinkeepers BBQ. Rather, in a weird bit of coincidence, my good friend Toby Dore–the guy who set up the Facebook Group for my book–is actually part of a gang of guys trying to get their own first festival off the ground. The Basin Cleanup and BBQ will be held Sept. 26 from 6 to 12 p.m. at Whiskey River Landing.
Like I said to Toby, I wish he’d have told me about this. I could have used him for a little research instead of just making up all the details in my book!
I fully expect those of you who live in the area to get out there and go check this out. Invite your friends. Spread the Facebook group around. Go, man. Go.
And for those who don’t live in the area? Well, come a little closer. Let me talk to you about Louisiana festivals.
I know. I know. You’ve been to Jazzfest. Let me tell you something. That don’t count. The difference between Jazzfest and Lollapalooza is one has a little bit of jazz and the other’s called Jazzfest and usually stars the Dave Matthews Band.
Anyway, when I talk about Louisiana festivals, I’m talking about that wide variety of partying in the smaller towns and rural areas running from Spring straight through to the Fall. You’ve got your one-day, small-scale events–much like the Bodacious Basinkeepers BBQ that Toby is putting on–that consist of a few bands, a lot of beer and some good food. And you’ve got your big four-day events that have rides, attractions, a lot of bands, a lot of beer and some good food.
One of my personal favorites is the Festival International de Louisiane, which takes place in downtown Lafayette, usually around the same time as Jazzfest. Unlike Jazzfest, Festival International is free to roam around, you can bring your own beer and there’s so much world music here it would make the entire staff of NPR blush. Another favorite is the Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival, which takes place in the middle of a soybean field in Plaisance, Louisana, during the first week of August. It’s usually the hottest day of the year, but that doesn’t stop thousands of people from dancing their asses off in the dust. There you’ll see the hottest Zydeco acts in the country, watch French-speaking, cowboy-hat wearing, giant-belt-buckle-sporting black men dance their asses off. And you may even be struck by lightning.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. My hometown, Opelousas, has the Yambilee festival. Get it? It’s like a Jubilee for Yams. That’s right. Opelousas used to be the sweet potato capital of the U.S. Chances are, if you have any of that retro package art on your walls and any of it features yams or sweet potatoes, you’ll find Opelousas on there.
Rayne has the Frog Festival. Crowley has the Rice Festival. Breaux Bridge has the Crawfish Festival. Ville Platte has the Cotton Festival as well as the most awesomely named Smoked Meat Festival. You’ll also find the Strawberry Festival, the Wagon Wheel Festival, the Cracklin Festival, and, oh yes, the Watermelon Festival.
And while the Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival no longer exists, there’s a Rabbit Festival in the town of Iowa, Louisiana. (Oh yeah, and my book)
And now Toby and the gang are adding one more to the mix. May it have a long happy life.