The 75th Annual Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival taking place Sept. 21-25 honors the state’s enduring sugar harvest and the industry as a whole, which operates in more than 20 parishes and employs nearly 30,000 people, in historic downtown New Iberia with fireworks, parades, live entertainment and much more.
“This is our 75th annual festival, and of course it’s a festival to celebrate the industry that we’re surrounded by: the sugar industry,” says Doyle Copell, the festival's vice president. “That’s the root of what this festival is about, the harvest. It celebrates the harvest and the industry. It’s part of our culture and part of our livelihood.”
This time honored harvest festival celebrates the cane growers, mill operators and many others who keep the industry growing with ceremonies, parades, royalty, exhibits, and dancing in the streets.
The celebration kicks off Wednesday, with the Mitchell Brothers’ Street Fair that offers a family-friendly midway of treats, games, prizes and fun rides. And throughout the festival will be arts and crafts vendors along with food vendors and a hop shop playground for children.
A new addition to this year’s festival is the Farm Fest held on Thursday at the Historic Shadows-On-The-Teche featuring family activities including a petting zoo, live music by 2 in the Chamber, games and prizes and more.
The festival continues on Friday with the Blessing of the Crop beginning that morning followed by an Arts and Crafts Show featuring food vendors and a hop shop that afternoon. Friday night also features the Candy Toss Parade, which is a nighttime parade hosted by the Berry Queens that features stylized golf carts decorated with flashing lights traveling down Main Street tossing candy to children and adults alike as they raise funds for charity.
Friday night also features a dazzling fireworks display and music from Bag of Donuts along with Sideshow.
The festival launches into overdrive starting Saturday morning with the Cruisin’ the Cane Parade and Car Show where any classic, street rod, collectible, antique, hot rod, muscle car, rat rod, race car or unique car or truck of any kind is paraded down Main Street in New Iberia before the children’s parade. And following the children’s parade is the Coronation of Queen Sugar where the festival’s royalty will be recognized.
Later in the evening is the Coronation Ball and fais do do dancing with live entertainment from The Bad Boys, Jet 7 and Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie.
Sunday brings the festival to a close beginning with the Royalty Mass and later the Royalty Parade that will be held in conjunction with the street fair.
“This festival is so diverse,” says Copell. “It has so many different events going on throughout the week that would accommodate the different tastes people have. It’s a broad spectrum of different things for people to see and do. People should come mostly because it’s such a wonderful family event. It caters to all ages from adults to children.”
The Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival takes place Sept. 21-25 in various venues across New Iberia. No ice chests are allowed. For more information, including a full schedule of events, visit www.hisugar.org.