The Louisiana Strawberry Festival is held in the town of Ponchatoula, which is about an hour's drive northwest from New Orleans. Featuring tons of local ripe strawberries as well as a host of activities, the festival draws over 300,000 people every year. Running for three days in early April, the Strawberry Festival makes a great day trip for anyone visiting New Orleans during this time.
The strawberry is the state fruit of Louisiana and is used in a variety of sweets and desserts, from strawberry pies to strawberry jams. The Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula is one of the state's largest festivals and features food booths where many different strawberry dishes can be sampled. A strawberry-eating contest takes place on both Saturday and Sunday and a strawberry auction sells off the prized berries of the season, with proceeds going to local charities
The three-day weekend of the Strawberry Festival has a full lineup of live music, which is one of the festival's biggest draws. Music takes place on the North Stage and the South Stage, which border either side of the festival grounds. Local Cajun, Creole, blues and jazz bands from New Orleans and the surrounding rural communities are highlighted.
Just like many other traditional Louisiana events, including Mardi Gras, the Strawberry Festival draws upon the local community and awards royalty status to prominent members. The most highly coveted title is the Strawberry Queen, a competition that is open only to unmarried females between 18 and 23 years old. A King and Grand Marshall are also chosen every year.
A special area set aside for children, Lil Farmers Row, presents games, booths and tasting areas designed just for kids.There are also carnival-style rides. In the main festival area, a variety of games and contests take place, including an egg toss and sack races. On Saturday, there is a parade, which features the year's royalty.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images