Press Release: Best of the Bayou Set for This Weekend-9/26/12

Houma, LA – The first-ever Best of the Bayou Festival presented by Rouses Markets is set for this Saturday and Sunday, September 29-30, in Historic Downtown Houma. The festival, a free-entry event, will occupy Main Street and surrounding areas between Lafayette and Barrow Streets for a quarter-mile and will feature the “best” in music, food, arts and southern culture. Best of the Bayou is the first two-day festival in downtown since the departure of Downtown on the Bayou almost ten years ago.

The festival’s impressive lineup of 25 bands hail from New Orleans, Lafayette, “the bayou” and west into Texas-many of whom have earned national acclaim. Headliners include Marc Broussard, GIVERS, Ruthie Foster and Cowboy Mouth. All bands will perform from two stages, called Boudin Bayou and Gulf Groove, which will face each other at opposing ends of the festival grounds. Musical genres range from traditional Cajun and blues to rock and funk, as well as a fusion of musical influences from many of the bands.

More than a dozen food booths will surround the Courthouse Square. Within the Premier Catering festival food court festival-goers will enjoy a variety of Cajun specialties, like charbroiled oysters, shrimp boulettes, crawfish Monica, bacon-wrapped shrimp, fried alligator, and traditional festival fare like burgers and hot dogs, plus finger-licking barbeque, like rib racks and pulled pork. Some vendors will also supply sweets such as ice cream, bread pudding, and tea cakes. The festival will serve drinks including water and sodas and adult beverages like domestic and specialty beers and wine. Other beverages being served include P.J.’s iced coffee, frozen lemonade, Kasasa-ritas from Coastal Commerce Bank and daiquiris from Premier Catering. Beverage sales will benefit the festival and help to sustain it annually.

The Best of the Bayou Festival Foundation was created to promote tourism and economic development as part of Terrebonne Parish’s recovery from the 2010 BP oil spill.

BOB Fest will also feature original art and handmade crafts for sale inside the Gulf Coast Marketplace Festival Market near the food court. Art lovers will have the opportunity to stroll through approximately 30 arts-and-crafts booths of handmade jewelry, paintings, clothing, pottery, furniture, other home décor and more.  The marketplace will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday,

The Terrebonne Fine Arts Guild, located inside the festival on Belanger Street, will also be open throughout the weekend.  From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, the gallery will showcase various works from local artists, which includes the festival art submissions.  In June, BOB held a two-week art contest, whereby the winning entry became the official poster of the festival. The winning painting, chosen by an independent volunteer panel, was created by Susan Shaffer of Schreiver, LA. Her painting will also be on display inside the gallery and will be auctioned via silent auction. The winner will be announced Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. Shaffer will be signing purchased posters from 1-4 p.m. Sunday inside the Information and Welcome Tent on Main Street. Posters will sell for $15, along with festival shirts for $10.  Proceeds from merchandise sales also benefit the festival.

Other highlights of the festival include the Bayouland Kids Korner presented by Chevron and the Budweiser Sports Bar.  The Kids Korner will offer free hands-on games and crafts for the little festival-goers, as well as a rock wall (minimal fee to climb). The Kids Korner will keep the same hours as the marketplace nearby. Inside the festival sports bar, located at the Mardi Gras Bingo Hall on Main Street, sports enthusiasts can check out the weekend’s big games, like college and professional football, on a giant movie screen.  Voodoo BBQ & Grill, the official food sponsor of the sports bar, will be serving smoked brisket, their famous corn pudding, red beans and rice and sausage, and more!  Beverages will also be sold inside the sports bar.

For more details on the festival, such as an interactive festival map, complete band lineup and list of food vendors, directions to Houma and discounted hotel rates, people are encouraged to visit the festival’s website at www.bestofthebayou.org.

Due to limited parking downtown, parking will be available off-site throughout the weekend at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center about a mile from the festival grounds. A free shuttle service, provided by the Terrebonne Council on Aging, will pick up festival-goers at Lot A of the Civic Center-the bayou-side lot, and drop them off at the intersection of School and Church Streets near the Courthouse.

Main Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from Lafayette to Barrow Streets beginning Friday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. due to festival preparations and will remain closed throughout the weekend due to BOB Fest. Houma Police will start bagging parking meters and clearing affected areas at 4 p.m. Friday.

Best of the Bayou is presented by Rouses Markets and sponsored by Chevron, Pepsi, Terminix, Stephanie Hebert-Allstate Insurance, Buquet Distributing, Voodoo BBQ & Grill, Progressive Waste Solutions, BP, McDonald’s, Cox Cable, Courier/Comet, LA Office of Tourism and Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government.

Lori’s Best of the Bayou Update-9/10/12

(As seen in September edition of FOCUS, a monthly publication of the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce.)

As I begin to write my final pre-festival update, I seriously reflect on the months leading up to now—these last few important weeks prior to Best of the Bayou.  Where has the time gone?!  A cliché, yes; however, so true!  When I officially began working on this grand new festival several months ago, I knew there were going to be challenges.  Well, Father Time has proved to be one of the biggest obstacles.  And now that we have survived (and were mostly spared by) Hurricane Isaac, we hope Mother Nature is kind and pray for quiet skies in the coming weeks!

I hope by now everyone or almost everyone has seen or at least heard about our impressive schedule of bands, which includes headliners GIVERS, Marc Broussard, Cowboy Mouth, and Ruthie Foster.  As previously released, the full lineup includes 24 bands from the Bayou, Acadiana and New Orleans regions, as well as Texas. Miss Foster, an award-winning blues singer/songwriter and Grammy nominee, and The Gourds, an offbeat country group, come by way of the Austin area.  The two stages, called Boudin Bayou and Gulf Groove, will each host about a dozen bands over the course of two days and will face each other at opposing ends of the festival grounds – about a quarter of a mile apart.  Musical genres range from traditional Cajun and blues to rock and funk, as well as a fusion of musical influences from many of the bands.  We hope that you are as excited as we are about the AWESOME lineup we have in store!

While I must say the bands are enticing enough, the festival would not be complete without our fantastic food offerings.  We are proud to say that among our dozen or so vendors, folks will enjoy a variety of Cajun specialties, like charbroiled oysters, shrimp po-boys, jambalaya and gumbo, grits and grillades, and traditional festival fare like burgers, hot dogs, nachos, even barbeque, like rib racks and pulled pork.  Some vendors will also supply just what you need to satisfy that sweet tooth and cool you off on what we expect to be a hot early fall day in South Louisiana.  Hungry yet?!

As a brief reminder, the festival site will start at the Gulf Groove Stage near Grinage Street.  The food court will surround the Courthouse Square on Church and Goode Streets, while the festival marketplace will be situated in paved lots near Belanger and Roussell Streets.  The Boudin Bayou Stage will flank the festival on the opposite end near Barrow Street.  Also, another important note to remember: Main Street will shut down to through-traffic beginning Friday, Sept. 28th at 6pm for set-up and festival preparations.  Downtown Live After Five is also cancelled that evening due to the necessary preparations.

More details about the festival will be posted on our website and Facebook and through regional media leading up to the fest at the end of this month!  If you are interested in volunteering at the festival or have general questions about the event, feel free to contact me at info@bestofthebayou.org.  Please help us spread the word about Houma’s newest festival!  And of course, we hope to see you there on September 29th and 30th!