Strawberry Festival

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DJ Yuan of The Wiseguys sang cover songs at the 2018 “Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival” on the north stage this past Sunday. The “Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival” featured live performances by local musical groups. Annie Goodman/The Lion’s Roar

The 47th annual “Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival” has come to pass. The festival spanned three days and featured food, music and rides drawing in crowds from across the state and some from out of state.

Accompanying the food stalls were two stages surrounded by audiences listening and dancing to live music by multiple musical groups. There were also games and rides providing a fair-like atmosphere to the venue as the scent of funnel cake filled the air.

Gonzalez-native Betty Stone, 70, said her favorite part was the strawberries.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been here,” said Stone. “It’s nice. My grandson wanted to come, and he wanted me to come with him.”

The festival, held in Memorial Park in Ponchatoula, opened on Friday, April 13. Due to weather conditions, the festival was forced to close on Saturday, April 14 canceling the parade. In response to this, festival organizers decided to close the festival two hours later than scheduled on Sunday, April 15 at 8 p.m.

With Ponchatoula bordering the south side of Hammond, campus organizations view the festival as a fundraising opportunity. Delta Tau Delta, Theta Phi Alpha and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia had booths set up on the festival grounds. Delta Tau Delta sold red beans and rice, fried pickles, jalapeño poppers and corn nuggets. Theta Phi Alpha sold strawberry shortcake. 

These organizations were among numerous other vendors selling Cajun-style food in booths lining the edges of the festival. 

Sisters Daisai Augustus and Inde’ah Augustus, from the city of Central, have been attending the festival for years. They shared their favorite aspects of the festival. 

“The rides are better, it feels like,” said Inde’ah Augustus. “It looks like it didn’t have as many last time. It looks more fun.”

The festival is described as a “free, family-friendly, outdoor festival filled with lots of great food, strawberries, entertainment, and fun for people of all ages to enjoy” on their website. This was displayed by the abundance of festival-goers filling the park with food in their hands and smiles on their faces.

A festival-goer enjoys Mothership’s performance. Annie Goodman/The Lion’s Roar

Adam Pearce, the vocalist for Mothership: a tribute band to Led Zeppelin, performed cover songs on the south stage Sunday. Annie Goodman/The Lion's Roar

A child looks to his parents while riding the spinning teacup ride. Annie Goodman/The Lion’s Roar