77th Annual Shrimp & Petroleum Festival - UPDATE

The 77th Annual Shrimp and Petroleum Festival Will Still Take Place as Scheduled

Louisiana’s oldest chartered harvest festival is scheduled to celebrate 77 years of tradition and family fun, this upcoming Labor Day Weekend, August 31st – September 3rd, 2012. 

The Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival will be held in Morgan City, only 90 miles from New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Most festivities are held within the beautiful 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.  

New events for the festival include a 50/50 Raffle, performances by The Big Fun Brass Band, and performances by Louisiana Kids, INC. The 50/50 raffle is sponsored by the festival. Tickets are $1.00 and can be bought at the festival office, 715 Second Street, Morgan City, Louisiana. 

The Big Fun Brass Band, a New Orleans style brass band comprised of nine music students from Southeastern Louisiana University, will perform for multiple events throughout the festival weekend including: a performance at the Gospel Stage Saturday afternoon, a second line procession from the festival office on Second Street to the city dock for the Blessing of the Fleet on Sunday morning, and they will march leading the street parade on Sunday afternoon. The public is encouraged to join in on the “second line” fun! Bring your hankies and your jazzy umbrellas to the festival office on Sunday to take part in the procession to the city dock and to pass a good time! 

Also, new to the festival will be Louisiana Kids, INC., a non-profit organization focused on the performing arts of children. This group of young performers will be in Lawrence Park on Saturday, as well as, the porch at the festival office later in the day on Saturday. Bring your lawn chairs! Call the festival office for performance times. 

The 49th Art Show & Sale began on Wednesday, August 29th and will continue through Friday, September 21st, located downtown at the Everett Street Gallery. Hours to view the exhibit will be daily during the festival from 11 am to 5 pm. Friday, August 31st; the official ribbon cutting will open the festival at 5:00 pm on Second Street under the US Highway 90 Bridge. Also, today, The Mitchell Brothers Carnival rides and games will begin at 5 pm and continue through Monday at 9 pm. 

Indulge your taste buds and satisfy your appetite at the 24th 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 today, noon to 11 PM Saturday & Sunday, and noon to 9 PM Monday. Local non-profit groups and civic organizations benefit from the proceeds. 

The 35th Traditional Arts & Crafts Show & Sale will open today, August 31st at 5 PM under the US Highway 90 Bridge and continue through Monday, September 3rd 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, September 1st 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. Decorated bicycles, wagons, strollers and four wheelers are welcome to participate. The Children’s Day King and Queen will officially open the J Ray McDermott/Teche Regional Medical Center/BP’s Children’s Village with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:30 am. The McDermott/Teche Regional Medical Center/BP’s Children’s Village is a magical play land featuring games, prizes, face-painting, and more. The Children’s Village will be open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 11:30 am. Added attractions to the village this year include: the Audubon Institute Zoo Mobile, the Wetlands Express, and the Aqua Van from the Audubon Society displaying exhibits in Lawrence Park around the village on Saturday. 

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.  Vintage will kick off the festival music line-up at 5 PM on Friday, August 31st followed by The Good Feelin Band at 7 PM, and Topcats will close the night at 9 PM.  Saturday morning will feature Flat Line at 11 AM, and heading into the afternoon and night the line-up is as follows: Bandit at 1 PM, Overtime at 3:30 PM, Supercharger at 6 PM, and Category 6 at 9 PM.  On Sunday, September 2nd, Crossroads will begin at 1 PM followed by LA South at 3:30 PM, Brandon Foret at 6 PM and Mojeaux at 9 PM.   On Monday, September 3rd, Tommy G & Stormy Weather  will perform at 1 PM, followed by OMG at 3 PM, South 70 at 5 PM and J J Muggler at 7 PM.  

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. There will be a NSA Softball Tournament at Kemper Williams Park starting Friday at 6:30 pm, and continuing Saturday morning at 8 am. Cypress Corvette Club Open Car Show will take place from 8 am to 3 pm at M.D. Shannon Elementary. Also, Saturday, Doiron’s Bass Tournament will begin at daylight. A 5K Fun Run/Walk and LA High School Swim Relays will all begin 8 am on Saturday. The Gospel Stage will also open on Saturday at M.D. Shannon Elementary at noon, and again on Sunday at 1 pm. 

Traditional activities on Sunday, September 2nd,  will take place starting with Mass in the Park. Due to the weather from the past few days, Mass in the Park will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church, in Morgan City at 8:30 am. 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 craft, offshore supply boats and some of the biggest “muscle” boats of the offshore industry including supply boats, crew boats and tugboats. 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, sponsored by Bollinger Shipyard, Teche Regional Medical Center and G&J Land & Marine, Central Boat, and King Trucking 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.

People Haulers, INC. will provide a shuttle service from hotels in Morgan City to the festival grounds on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 11 pm. 

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.”

Sponsors for this year’s festival include Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau, City of Morgan City, St. Mary Parish Government, U.S. Coast Guard, Town of Berwick, OGRS, LLC, API, Tidewater, Darnell, Sikes, Carders & Frederick, Bollinger Shipyard, Central Boat, Teche Regional Medical Center, People Haulers, INC., Major Equipment, Allen’s TV Cable, Family of Oliver Bergeron, The Daily Review, New Industries, Louisiana Lottery, King Trucking, Earl King Jr., G & J Land & Marine, TK Towing, BP, and J Ray McDermott. 

Festival organizers invite you to bring your family to Morgan City for Labor Day weekend to enjoy 77 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.shrimp-petrofest.org. For a festival schedule, contact the Cajun Coast Visitors & Convention Bureau at (800) 256-2931 or the festival office at the above number.