Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival poised for 79th year of festivities

The Rev. Greg Fratt blesses the fleet during the 2013 Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival in Morgan City.
(The Daily Review Photo by Harlan Kirgan)

Louisiana’s oldest chartered harvest festival is scheduled to celebrate 79 years of tradition and family fun during Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 28 through Sept. 1.
The Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival events will be held in Morgan City’s 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 the five-day extravaganza.
The festival saw its origins 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.
It has grown to become one of the state’s premiere festivals and was voted Festival of the Year in Division III for the past nine years 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.”
The 51st Labor Day Art Show & Sale will start Aug. 27 and continue through Sept. 20. Located downtown at the Everett Street Gallery, hours to view the exhibit will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during the festival.
The official ribbon cutting will open the festival at 5 p.m. Aug. 28 on Second Street under the U.S. 90 bridge.
The Mitchell Brothers Carnival rides and games will begin at 5 p.m. Aug. 28 and continue through Sept. 1 at 9 p.m. Bracelets will be offered Aug. 28, from 5 to 9 p.m., and Sept. 1, from noon to 4 p.m. and again from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bracelets are $25 each.
Indulge your taste buds and satisfy your appetite at the 26th Annual Cajun Culinary Classic, a showcase of “home style” cooking featuring delicious Cajun and creole dishes, as well as a variety of desserts and other cuisines. The Cajun Culinary Classic is open 5 to 11 p.m. Aug. 29, noon to 11 p.m. Aug. 30 and Aug. 31 and noon to 9 p.m. Sept. 1. Local non-profit groups and civic organizations benefit from the proceeds.
The 37th Arts & Crafts Show & Sale will open at 5 p.m. Aug. 29 under the U.S. 90 bridge and continue until 9 p.m. Sept. 1. The event features over 100 artists and crafters from south Louisiana selling unique merchandise and artistic masterpieces.
Children’s Day activities will begin with children’s field events at 9 a.m. Aug. 30. Children of all ages can participate in sack races, three-legged races and more. Professional storytellers will entertain kids and their parents after the field events. The Children’s Day Mini Street Parade will begin at 11 a.m., also on Aug. 30. Decorated bicycles, wagons, strollers and four wheelers are welcome to participate.
The Children’s Day king and queen officially will open the Children’s Village with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 30. The Children’s Village is a playland featuring games, prizes, face-painting and more. It will open at 11 a.m. Aug. 30 and Aug. 31.
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 lineup for this year will include:
—Aug. 29, 5 p.m., Tommy G & Stormy Weather; 7 p.m., Drunk Punch Ponies; and 9 p.m., Supercharger.
—Aug. 30, 1:30 p.m., At Fault; 4 p.m., Velvet Sky; 6:30 p.m., Snapper & the Fishsticks; and 9 p.m. Voodoo Gumbo.
—Aug. 31, 1:30 p.m., Chubby Carrier; 4 p.m., Brashear/Bogue; 6:30 p.m., Frontiers; and 9 p.m., Mojeaux.
—Sept. 1, 1 p.m., Amanda Shaw; 3 p.m., South 70; 5 p.m., Hal Bruni Band; and 7 p.m., Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys.
A Cultural & Heritage Expo will be on display next to the festival office, 715 Second St., Morgan City, from Aug. 29 through Sept. 1, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There will be a National Softball Association softball tournament at Kemper Williams Park starting Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m., and continuing Aug. 30 at 8 a.m.
The Cypress Corvette Club Open Car Show will take place Aug. 30 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at M.D. Shannon Elementary, 409 Brashear Ave.
Also Aug. 30, Doiron’s Bass Tournament will begin at daylight. A 5K Fun Run/Walk will begin 8 a.m. Aug. 30. The Gospel Stage will also open Aug. 30 at M.D. Shannon Elementary at 3 p.m., and again on Aug. 31 at 3 p.m.
Traditional activities on Aug. 31 will take place beginning with the Mass in the Park where the community gives thanks for its blessings under the oaks in Lawrence Park. The Mass begins at 8:30 a.m.
The Historic Blessing of the Fleet follows at 10 a.m. on the Atchafalaya River. The water parade, which features decorated shrimp boats, pleasure craft, offshore supply boats and some of the biggest “muscle” boats of the offshore industry including supply boats, crew boats and tugboats.
A street parade will begin at the corner of Second and Onstead streets at 3 p.m. featuring past and present royalty, this year’s maids and their pages and visiting queens from various festivals throughout the state.
Fireworks on the River will begin at 9 p.m. Aug. 31. Grab a spot in Lawrence Park, along the seawall or on the old Morgan City/Berwick (La. 182) bridge and enjoy the spectacular.
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 1-800-256-2931 or the festival office at the above number.

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