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.