Fall in south Louisiana is prime festival time, and for my family, it means cooking seafood gumbo at the French Food Festival. Proceeds from the festival, now in its 35th year, support the Larose Regional Park and Civic Center in Larose, LA. It is an old-fashioned festival: free parking, free admission, food booths run by families, friends, co-workers, and volunteers (not subcontracted to restaurants).
Take a road trip down the bayou and eat a bowl of gumbo for a good cause on October 25, 26, and 27. Here’s a link to the schedule of events, driving directions, etc. Like any good small town festival, the FFF has a carnival midway with games & rides, a festival queen, a parade, a kiddie cake bake-off, various sport competitions, but the main event is eating. Aside from the gumbo, the fair offers alligator sauce piquante, fried shrimp, fish, and oysters, shrimp fettucini, beignets, funnel cakes, gratons, hogshead cheese, red beans & rice, jambalaya, meat pies, fried crab claws, homebaked sweets, shrimp boulettes, and lots more.
Read about (or listen to) my family’s gumbo-making traditions in an oral history interview conducted by Sara Roahen for the Southern Foodways Alliance “Gumbo Trail”.