November’s bounty is celebrated nationally on Thanksgiving, but down in New Orleans and across Louisiana there are numerous food festivals throughout the month in celebration of the local culinary treasures. Some celebrate foods in season, and others celebrate year round treats such as po’ boys. Check out these annual November Foodie Festivals.
- Pecan Festival- Every year the first full November weekend is celebrated in Colfax, LA with the Pecan Festival running Friday to Sunday. This festival is over forty years old and offers a parade, costume contest, cooking contest, rides, fireworks, Queen’s Ball, and its own dance team. The Louisiana Pecanettes is made up of local girls from high school dance teams who perform at this festival, and other festivals to promote all that is Pecan Festival.
- Great Chili Challenge– A quick festival, occurring in New Iberia for a few hours the first Saturday in November that is a great addition to an already full weekend of festing. With three main chili categories: family style, heart healthy and hold onto your hat there is a chili out there for every palate. There is also the customary festival musical line up, arts and crafts, and kids’ activities.
- Celebration of the Giant Omelette- This is an unusual festival even by Louisiana standards. For those looking for a weekend of Cajun French festival style egg celebrating, this is the right place. There is a 2 mile run/walk through the historic town of Abbeville on Saturday morning, and Sunday morning festivities kick off with a Cajun Bicycle Challenge at 8 a.m. and a Catholic Mass at 9 a.m. The highlight of the event is Sunday’s procession of chefs with all the ingredients for the festival’s 5000 egg omelet. The final three hours of the festival are spent watching the preparation of the giant omelet, serving it up, and digging in.
- Mirliton Festival- This local delicacy that grows on vines throughout the city is pronounced in true New Orleans fashion Mell-uh-ton. Looks nothing like the spelling, but one taste will leave one unconcerned about spelling or pronunciation. This festival happens in the Bywater neighborhood and benefits the Bywater Neighborhood Association. The first Saturday in November is the annual date for this neighborhood event that is over 20 years old.
- Cracklin’ Festival- Cajuns are said to use every part of the pig and this four day festival in Port Barre on the second weekend in November shows how serious those novel uses are taken in Louisiana. Typical to festivals outside of New Orleans this one has a pageant and parade included in the typical festival fanfare and cracklin’ cook off.
- Treme Creole Gumbo Festival- Put on by the Jazz and Heritage Foundation known for Jazz Fest, this fest is still in its formative years. The second weekend of November brings gumbo lovers and music lovers alike to Louis Armstrong Park to taste some of the city’s best known versions of this local dish.
- PoBoy Festival- This relative newcomer to the festival scene has set up shop on Oak Street, home to many local shops and restaurants, and has grown at such a rapid rate that the festival is noted for being as overstuffed as the po’boys served up during this annual Sunday event. The 2012 festival has decided to move the music stages to the cross streets instead of directly on Oak to assist the with the traffic jams prone to this popular fest. There is a kids’ area closer to the river end of the street, but trying to navigate the full length of the fest with a stroller is no easy feat, so those looking for a family day would be advised to station themselves by the kids’ area.
Good food is a feature at practically every festival in Louisiana, but these foodie fests are truly devoted to celebrating the culinary culture so important to natives. Traditional fare, as well as creative new dishes, leaves festers only wishing for a bigger stomach. A good approach to food fests is to share dishes with friends, thus enjoying a greater variety of the feted food.