The Group Travel Leader

APR 2017

The online home of The Group Travel Leader, America's leading publication for the group travel industry. Articles on hot destinations, attractions, news and travel trends from across the country and around the world.

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Page 34 of 51

GROUP TRAVEL LE ADER T H E B Y F I O N A Y O U N G - B R O W N Courtesy NHDBA NO MATTER THE TIME OF YEAR, VISITORS TO LOUISIANA CAN BE SURE OF FINDING AT LEAST ONE FESTIVAL TAKING PLACE, AND LIKELY MORE THAN ONE. WHETHER YOU'RE CEL- EBRATING CULTURAL HERITAGE, MUSICAL HISTORY, OR A SPE- CIFIC TIME OF YEAR, EVERY FESTIVAL OFFERS GOOD FOOD, LIVELY MUSIC AND A CHANCE TO ENJOY THAT LAID-BACK LOUISIANA JOIE DE VIVRE. HERE ARE FIVE FESTIVALS ACROSS LOUISIANA THAT YOUR GROUP MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER VISITING TO LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL. CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL IN NATCHITOCHES FEATURES FIREWORKS ON THE RIVER EVERY SATURDAY EVENING BETWEEN THANKSGIVING AND NEW YEAR'S DAY. INTERNATIONAL RICE FESTIVAL C R O W L E Y Every Louisiana resident knows that rice is an essential part of the regional cuisine, and so it is only fitting that there should be a festival to celebrate this humble grain and the local farmers who produce it. As Gwen Hanks, executive director of Acadia Tourism, said, "This is all to honor our farmers; without them we'd starve." The International Rice Festival is the state's largest and oldest agricultural festival and has operated continually for more than 80 years, except for a break during World War II. Thousands of people gather in Crowley each October for a long weekend that features music, dance, food, two parades, a Queen's Ball and more. Those who may have overindulged can run off some of the calories in a 5K race; others can browse the classic cars, watch a demonstra- tion of old-time rice threshing and wander through the arts-and-crafts fair. The entertainment is in full swing from early morning to midnight each day. Hotels in the area fill up quickly, so event organizers suggest making reser- vations early. If people contact Acadia Tourism, they can be put in touch with local motels and any other facilities they might need. Parking and admission are free, and armbands are available for purchase to cover the cost of carnival rides. WWW.ACADIATOURISM.ORG WWW.RICEFESTIVAL.COM B E Y O N D BEADS LOUISIANA'S FESTIVALS CELEBRATE MUCH MORE THAN MARDI GRAS

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