Everyone knows that Louisiana is a non-stop party, with every small town throwing events all year round. You’ve heard of New Orleans Jazzfest, and the great Cajun food festivals all across the state, but the Northshore region hosts several amazingly unique events that tend to fly under the radar. The quaint towns across the lake from New Orleans love to host a good party and collectively throw thousands of events each year, but we’ve picked out some of our favorites that bring people back year after year.
Hot August Night in Hammond: August 23, 2019
Each year on a hot August Friday night, downtown Hammond hosts a night market from 6-10:30. Watch the sun set and wander around the 50 different shops and restaurants to enjoy a late night around the town. Find amazing deals in the stores, art exhibits on every corner, wine tastings, and live music. Watch the streets come alive and relish in the small-town feel of the downtown.
Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival: October 12 & 13th, 2019
Each year on a late autumn weekend, Madisonville floods with people coming to see the Wooden Boat Festival. The waterfront is filled with vintage wooden boats from all across the Gulf Coast. Expect to see food vendors, a beer garden, and local art sold all over, but the main event to look for is the Quick ‘n’ Dirty Boat Building Competition. Participants have 14 hours to build a boat from the materials provided to them before sending them out on the water to test their seaworthiness in a 100-yard course. Root for the underdog, watch some fall apart in the lake, and cheer as boats cross the finish line against all odds.
Louisiana Renaissance Festival: November-December, 2019
Huzzah! It is one of the most sought-after events of the year! Running 7 weekends in a row, from November 2, to December 8, the Louisiana Renaissance Festival is one of the biggest events in Hammond. With over 600 artisans, entertainers, and demonstrators and over 50 shows to choose from, one weekend may not cut it. Each weekend follows a different theme, so plan ahead and wear a kilt or slap on an eye patch and a pirate hat to match the week’s theme.
Mandeville’s A Christmas Past Festival: December 14, 2019
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and the best way to kick off that holiday excitement is to head over to the Christmas Past Festival in Mandeville. Over 100 artists and craftsmen from across Louisiana will gather to celebrate and showcase their holiday crafts. On top of that, you’ll find several people wandering around in holiday attire, horse and carriage rides, and live music.
Covington Mardi Gras: February 25, 2020
It’s Louisiana, every town in this state celebrates Mardi Gras, with New Orleans being the most popular of them all. But just across Lake Pontchartrain, in the charming town of Covington, there is an equally great celebration. The one in Covington celebrates Mardi Gras’ rich history, but in a more G-rated environment. If you love the parade, the colors, and want to eat and drink some amazing food for the day then this is your place. Don’t mistake this for a whimpy celebration though, festivities start in the beginning of January and lead up to the main day which boasts several parades, a carnival, and a free party with live music, concessions, and even a ‘Lil’ Jesters” kids area.
Abita Springs Busker Festival: March 22, 2020
Bring your dancing shoes, a lawn chair, and some sunscreen for this Springtime thrill. Celebrating buskers, street performers that work for tips, this event is filled with dancing, good Louisiana roots music, and entertainment around every corner. This intimate event is a great way to get out and enjoy the springtime weather before the temperature creeps up.
These are just some of our favorite events on the North Shore, but this region hosts amazing events year round. Louisiana Bicycle Festival, A Taste of Covington, weekly farmer markets, and beer fests all year long give these towns quite a bit to brag about. You can plan your vacation around one of these fabulous events, or come anytime as one of these towns is bound to be hosting some sort of event.
Planning a trip to Louisiana? The Louisiana Bed & Breakfast Association boasts several one-of-a-kind inns, bed & breakfasts, and historic homes located in all corners of the state.