Louisiana’s oldest chartered harvest festival is scheduled to celebrate 79 years of tradition and family fun, this upcoming Labor Day Weekend, August 28th – September 1st, 2014.
The Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival will be held in Morgan City, 90 miles from New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Most festivities are held within the Downtown Historic District and are free to the general public. Great food, continuous free live music, traditional events, children’s activities and new events will highlight this five-day extravaganza.
The 51st Labor Day Art Show & Sale will start on Wednesday, August 27th and continue through Thursday, September 20th, located downtown at the Everett Street Gallery. Hours to view the exhibit will be daily during the festival from 11 am to 5 pm.
Thursday, August 28th; the official ribbon cutting will open the festival at 5:00 pm on Second Street under the US Highway 90 Bridge. Also, on Thursday, The Mitchell Brothers Carnival rides and games will begin at 5 pm and continue through Monday at 9 pm. Bracelets will be offered Thursday, August 28th from 5 to 9 pm, and Monday, September 1st from 12 noon to 4 pm and 5 to 9 pm. Bracelets are $25.00 each.
Indulge your taste buds and satisfy your appetite at the 26th Annual Cajun Culinary Classic, a showcase of local “home style” cooking featuring delicious Cajun & Creole dishes, as well as a variety of desserts and other cuisines. The Cajun Culinary Classic is open 5 pm to 11 pm Friday, 12 noon to 11 pm Saturday & Sunday, and 12 noon to 9 pm Monday. Local non-profit groups and civic organizations benefit from the proceeds.
The 37th Traditional Arts & Crafts Show & Sale will open on Friday, August 29th at 5 pm under the US Highway 90 Bridge and continue through Monday, September 1st at 9 pm. The event features over 100 artists and crafters from south Louisiana with unique merchandise and artistic masterpieces.
Children’s Day activities will begin with children’s field & game events Saturday, August 30th at 9 am. Children of all ages can participate in sack races, three legged races and more. Professional storytellers will entertain kids as well as their parents with their wonderful stories after the field and games events. The Children’s Day Mini Street Parade will begin at 11 am also on Saturday. Decorated bicycles, wagons, strollers and four wheelers are welcome to participate. The Children’s Day King and Queen will officially open the Children’s Village with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, August 30th at 11:30 am. The Children’s Village is a magical play land featuring games, prizes, face-painting, and more. The Children’s Village will be open Saturday and Sunday at 11 am.
Downtown comes alive with continuous free live music performed at the Heritage Music Stage. The festival will feature bright, upcoming artists from the area, as well as hometown legends. The music line up for this year will include:
Friday, August 29th, 5 pm – Tommy G & Stormy Weather, 7 pm – Drunk Punch Ponies, 9 pm – Supercharger; Saturday, August 30th, 1:30 pm – At Fault, 4 pm – Velvet Sky, 6:30 pm – Snapper & the Fishsticks, & 9 pm Voodoo Gumbo; Sunday, August 31st, 1:30 pm – Chubby Carrier, 4 pm – Brashear/Bogue, 6:30 pm – Frontiers, & 9 pm – Mojeaux; Monday, September 1st, 1 pm – Amanda Shaw, 3 pm – South 70, 5 pm – Hal Bruni Band, & 7 pm – Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys.
There will be many special events throughout the weekend. A Cultural & Heritage Expo will be on display next to the festival office from Friday through Monday 11 am to 5pm. Cypress Corvette Club Open Car Show will take place on Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm at M.D. Shannon Elementary. A 5K Fun Run/Walk will begin 8 am on Saturday. The Gospel Stage will also open on Saturday at M.D. Shannon Elementary, 409 Brashear Avenue, at 3 pm, and again on Sunday at 3 pm.
Traditional activities on Sunday will take place starting with Mass in the Park. The community will give thanks for its blessings at Mass in the Park at 8:30 am Sunday, August 31st, and will be celebrated under the oaks in Lawrence Park. Everyone is invited to attend. The Historic Blessing of the Fleet will begin at 10 am on the Atchafalaya River, followed by the water parade, which features decorated shrimp boats, pleasure crafts, offshore supply boats and some of the biggest “muscle” boats of the offshore industry including supply boats, crew boats and tugboats. A Certificate of Blessing and a prayer card of St. Brendan the Navigator, patron Saint of Seafarers will be presented to each participant. The Street Parade will begin at the corner of Second & Onstead Streets at 3 pm featuring past and present royalty along with this year’s maids and their pages, and visiting queens from various festivals throughout the state. Fireworks on the River will begin at 9 pm Sunday evening. Grab a spot in Lawrence Park, along the seawall or old Morgan City/Berwick Bridge and enjoy the firework spectacular.
The festival began in 1936 when the placid port of Morgan City and Berwick received the first boatload of jumbo shrimp, fresh from the deepest Gulf waters. The festival became the Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival in 1967, when the oil industry was firmly implanted into the local economy.
The festival has grown to become one of the state’s premiere festivals. The festival was voted Festival of the Year in Division III for the past nine years and by the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals, a top 100 American Bus Association event, and a top 20 Southeast Tourism Society event. In July of 1991 Time magazine described the festival as “…the best, the most unusual, the most down-home, the most moving and the most fun that the country has to offer.”
Festival organizers invite you to bring your family to Morgan City for Labor Day weekend to enjoy 79 years of tradition and family fun. For more information, contact the festival office at (985) 385-0703, or visit the festival’s web site at www.shrimpandpetroleum.org. For a festival schedule, contact the Cajun Coast Visitors & Convention Bureau at (800) 256-2931 or the festival office at the above number.