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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Festival of Old Times makes debut this weekend

Festival of Old Times makes debut this weekend

A new festival will make its debut this weekend on the grounds of the Lafourche Parish Tourist Center beginning Friday, October 3rd and running through Sunday, October 5th.

The Festival, named “La Fete des Vieux Temps”, or Festival of Old Times, was organized and planned by several civic-minded organizations including the Raceland Lion’s Club, Lafourche Fire District #1 and Lockport Fire District #1.

The three groups banded together and formed an organization and a board to manage the monumental task. Terry Arabie is the first chairman of the first annual festival and also president of the Raceland Lion’s Club.

“Over the years, all the festivals just seemed to keep disappearing and here we are today without any festivals in the central part of the parish,” says Arabie. “I have been thinking about this idea for years. Finally, it’s coming to fruition!”

“This festival is all about preserving our community,” he added. “We wanted to preserve our culture while having our own festival in the central part of the parish that incorporates the best elements of the older festivals.”

La Fetes Des Vieux Temps will be held at the Tourist Center in Raceland at the junction of LA 1 and Highway 90. More than 25 craft booths will line the entrance to the existing pavilion already on the site, housing both bands and food booths. Arabie and his team secured a 100 x 60 foot tent to be erected parallel to the pavilion to hold additional food booths and tables for seating and eating.

“We wanted to bring back all the great foods from our area’s festivals … the ones we all remembered and love,” Arabie says. “Fresh, made-at-the-fest cracklings, white beans and alligator sauce piquant, shrimp, and seafood of all kinds.”

Beverages will be plenty with beer and soft drinks on the list. One thing people from the Raceland area may be wondering about is the Fireman’s Punch Daiquiri served years ago at the Fireman’s Festival.

“We got the recipe and we tried it out with a two-gallon batch,” Arabie states. “After we all had a glass of the daiquiri, we knew we had to add it to the festival’s offerings. We are going to call it ‘Bayou Water’ after we make it a little brown in color.”

The Festival will feature great Cajun food, music, pay-one-price rides, 25 booths of handmade crafts, an old fashioned hog boucherie, a Sauce Piquante cook off, (contact Woody Collins at, and auction.

What makes this festival different than most festivals will be the demo area. Featured attractions include boats from the Traditional Wooden Boats Museum, basket weaving, moss doll and garfish demos, sugar cane syrup cooking, along with dancing from members of the United Houma Nation. And don’t forget the Cajun dancing!

“We will have a cane syrup machine, powered by a mule, and actually be making cane syrup over the 3-day festival,” says Arabie. “We will be milling and actually boiling the cain juice right next to the pavilion.”
One thing the organizers are extremely proud of is the mass that will be held on Sunday, October 5th under the pavilion at 9 a.m.

“We have a letter from the Bishop approving it,” adds Arabie. “Rain or shine, we are planning on having a great festival and a beautiful mass.”

“Volunteers, auction items, setting up the booths, tearing down … we can always use help,” says Arabie. “We are not doing this for monetary gain or to get rich by any means. So any help is greatly appreciated.”

“We want people to come out and enjoy all that we have here as we remember our past festivals and traditions and create some new ones,” he added. “We want everyone to come out and have a great time, from around here as well as from everywhere.”

There will also be a tent set up with different talks held every hour on Saturday and Sunday … talks about sugarcane, Cajun French, the history of the Cajuns, Houmas Indians history, alligator farming and hunting, medicinal herbs and treatments of the old times, quilting, how to make the file' for gumbo, the music and heritage along the bayou in the early 1900's, Lafourche Heritage/ Lockport Museum, and Mardi Gras traditions.

Trademarks Specialty and Services, Inc., 137 Penny Lane (located behind State Bank) in Raceland, (985-537-2200) is now taking orders for festival t-shirts. The t-shirt front features a copy of a Hank Holland painting with the festival logo on the back. All sizes and colors are available for $18 each.

Also, pay-one-price ride tickets can be purchased now for only $55 for the entire weekend of rides, a 45% savings over buying tickets throughout weekend at the fair. Tickets can be purchased at Rescue Wayne's Air and Heat, 198 LeBlanc Dr. (LA 1) Lockport, 985-532-6640.

To get involved, volunteer, donate auction items or support the festival with a monetary donation, call Terry Arabie at 985-665-5005.