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Gambit's 2013 Guide to Fairs & Festivals: March

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March

1-3 — Ponchatoula Antique Trade Days and Craft Fair (Downtown, Ponchatoula, 800-617-4502; www.ponchatoulachamber.com) — Booths feature antiques, collectibles, fine art, crafts, food and more. There's also live music. Hours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission free.

1- April 30 — Azalea Trail (Various locations, 888-942-3742; www.iberiatravel.com) — Driving and walking tours of the azaleas in bloom are free to the public, and maps are available at the Iberia Parish Tourist Information Center. Hours n/a. Admission free.

2 — Shadows Arts & Crafts Fair (Shadows-on-the-Teche, 317 E. Main St., New Iberia, 337-369-6446; www.shadowsontheteche.org) — About 100 artists and craftspeople sell their wares among the gardens at Shadows-on-the-Teche. A tour of the plantation house is included in ticket price. Hours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission $5, $3 ages 6-11, under age 6 free.

2-3 — Soul Fest (Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 504-581-4629; www.auduboninstitute.org) — The 10th annual event celebrates African-American culture with live jazz, gospel and R&B performances, dancers, Mardi Gras Indians, soul food, hands-on activities for kids and health and wellness information. Hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission (festival included in regular zoo admission) $17.50 adults, $13 seniors 65 and older, $12 children ages 2-12, free to Audubon Institute members.

3 — Here's the Beef Cook-off and Non-Motorized Trail Ride (Yambilee Fair Grounds, 1939 W. Landry St., Opelousas, 337-945-0364 or 337-684-6751; www.cityofopelousas.com) — The 28th annual festival presents cuisine from the area's best cooks, weekend chefs and culinary artists. There's also live music, a trail ride and more. Hours 8:30 a.m.-till. Admission $5 ages 15 and older; trail ride $10.

4-April 27 — Jubilee: A Festival of the Arts and Humanities (Various locations, Thibodaux; www.nicholls.edu/jubilee/) — Nicholls State University organizes the 15th annual festival, which includes seminars, a primitive weaponry demonstration, plays, music performances, lectures and more. Hours and admission vary.

6, 13, 20 and 27 — Wednesday at the Square (Lafayette Square Park, 504-585-1500; www.wednesdayatthesquare.com) — The Young Leadership Council hosts 12 weekly spring concerts (through May 22), featuring live music, food and drink vendors and more. Hours 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Admission free.

7, 14, 21 and 28 — Thursdays at Twilight (Pavilion of the Two Sisters, Botanical Garden, City Park, www.garden.neworleanscitypark.com) — A different musician performs every week (through Oct. 10). Food is available, as well as mint juleps, wine, beer and soft drinks. Music starts at 6 p.m. Admission $10, $3 children ages 5-12; $288 season pass, $135-$153 half-season pass.

8-10 — Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival (Downtown, Independence, 985-634-6696; www.indysicilianfest.com) — Celebrating Sicilian culture, the festival offers live music and other entertainment, Sicilian food, a parade on Sunday, carnival rides, a beauty contest and more. Hours 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Admission free.

9 — Hammond Spring Garden Day (LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station, 21549 Old Covington Hwy., Hammond, 985-748-9381 or 985-748-5462; www.lsuagcenter.com) — The event includes a plant swap and plant sale, commercial and educational exhibits and presentations, a plant diagnostic center, concessions and children's activities. Hours 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission $5 per vehicle.

9 — Italian-American Marching Club St. Joseph Day Parade and Muffuletta Dance (Parade starts at Canal and Chartres streets in the French Quarter, 504-561-1006; www.iamcnola.org) — The free parade features 16 floats, nine marching bands and hundreds of members marching in tuxedos and giving women roses in exchange for a kiss. The muffuletta dance follows at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel. Free pre-parade party at the hotel March 8 features "the world's largest pasta bowl" loaded with 500 pounds of pasta and 150 gallons of red gravy. Hours 6 p.m. parade start, 9 p.m. dance. Admission for dance, $40 advance, $45 at the door.

9 — Louisiana Oyster Jubilee (300 block of Bourbon Street, 504-293-2647; www.oysterjubilee.com) — The sixth annual event features a 340-foot-long oyster po-boy made by more than 30 New Orleans restaurants using 5,500 Louisiana oysters. The giant po-boy will be cut and distributed to attendees. Chefs also will compete for "Best Oyster Po-Boy" title. Hours 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission free.

9 — New Orleans International Beer Festival (Champions Square, Superdome; www.neworleansinternationalbeerfest.com) — The event features unlimited 2-ounce samples of craft beers from around the world. There's a separate beer garden for cask beer, as well as food and live music. Hours 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Admission $40 general, $75 VIP.

9-10 — Baton Rouge Spring Garden Show, Chili Cook-off and Car Show (John M. Parker Coliseum, LSU Campus, 225-578-2222; www.lsuagcenter.com) — The 11th annual garden show features plant sales, exhibitors, expert information, children's activities and more. It coincides with the seventh annual Louisiana state and regional chili cookoff (10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily) and the fourth annual spring car show (9 a.m.-noon Sunday) with dozens of classic cars. Hours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission $5, children under 12 free.

9-10 — Jane Austen Literary Festival (Various locations, Mandeville; www.janeaustenfestival.org) — The book focus of the sixth annual festival is Pride & Prejudice, and activities include love letter writing and other contests, lectures, readings, dance demonstrations, a raffle and more. Sunday includes brunch, entertainment and a reception. Hours 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission free Saturday, $35 Sunday.

13 — Street Food Festival and Vendy Awards (French Market, 1008 N. Peters St., 917-716-8253; www.vendysnola.eventbrite.com or www.streetvendor.org/vendys) — The inaugural event at the French Market features cuisine from a variety of street food vendors, a top chef contest and Vendy cup awards. Festivalgoers will pick a People's Choice award winner. Hours 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Admission starts at $6 (various ticket packages available), children under 6 free.

14 — Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day Block Party (Annunciation Park, 1522 Chippewa St.; www.irishchannelno.org) — The annual St. Patrick's Day celebration features food, beer, music and more and is a fundraiser for St. Michael Special School. Hours 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission free.

14 — Sunset at the Landing (Foot of Columbia Street, Covington, 985-892-1873; www.covingtonfarmersmarket.org/landing.shtml) — The free monthly concert series offers a couple of bands each month and a variety of music. Hours 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Admission free.

15-16 — Northshore Garden Show and Plant Sale (St. Tammany Fairgrounds, 1304 N. Columbia St., Covington, 985-875-2635; www.lsuagcenter.com) — The event offers free information about plants and gardening, more than three dozen exhibitor booths, presentations by horticulture experts, food and children's activities. Hours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission $3, children under 12 free.

15-17 — Amite Oyster Festival (Downtown, Amite, 800-617-4501) — The family-friendly festival kicks off Friday evening with a scavenger hunt. There's also a rodeo, oysters prepared a variety of ways, live music ranging from Cajun to reggae, carnival rides, food, arts and crafts and more. Hours vary. Admission free.

15-17 — Audubon Pilgrimage (Various locations, St. Francisville, 225-635-6330; www.audubonpilgrimage.info) — The three-day festival includes tours of historic homes, living history demonstrations, an arts show and sale and night concerts. Hours 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (tours), night concert times vary. Admission varies.

16 — Earth Fest (Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 504-581-4629; www.auduboninstitute.org) — Groups representing business, nonprofit and governmental organizations present exhibits focused on saving the environment, an Earth Quest game with prizes, food and arts and crafts. Hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission (festival included in regular zoo admission) $17.50 adults, $13 seniors 65 and older, $12 children ages 2-12, free to Audubon Institute members.

16 — New Orleans Sacred Music Festival (Cafe Istanbul and Fatoush Restaurant, New Orleans Healing Center, 2372 St Claude Ave., 504- 940-1130; www.neworleanshealingcenter.org) — Performers from a diverse range of spiritual and musical backgrounds perform and talk with festival-goers about the transformative power of music. Hours 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Admission $20.

16 — NOMA Egg Hunt (The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art; One Collins C. Diboll Circle, City Park, New Orleans, LA 70124) — Hop on over to the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden for NOMA's annual rite of spring: the NOMA Egg Hunt. Join us and hundreds of excited children and their families for a fun-filled day featuring egg hunts, a petting zoo, spacewalks, face painting, balloon making, arts and crafts activities, and of course, a visit from the Elmer's Easter Bunny. The 2013 NOMA Egg Hunt is sponsored by Catherine Burns Tremaine. Hours 12 p.m.-2 p.m. Admission $10 per guest for NOMA members through Friday, March 15; $12 for non members through Friday, March 15. $15 at the door. Children 2 years old and under are free. Please call (504) 658-4121 or visit noma.org for more information or to purchase tickets.

16-17 — Spring Arts & Crafts Festival (Oak Alley Plantation, 3645 Hwy. 18, Vacherie, 225-265-2151; www.oakalleyplantation.com) — The 22nd annual event offers more than 170 booths of juried artists and crafters who are required to sell only items they have produced themselves. Hours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission $5, children 9 and younger free.

16-17 — Vintage Glass & Collectibles Show & Sale (Pontchartrain Center, 4545 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 504-392-5093; www.crescentcityglass.org) — The 37th annual show features American-made vintage glass tableware, pottery, Depression-era glass and more. Vendors also will sell vintage jewelry, linens, silverware, furniture and other antiques. Door prizes will be awarded every hour. Hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission $6 (good for both days).

20-24 — Art in Bloom (New Orleans Museum of Art, 1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, 504-658-4100; www.noma.org) — Celebrating steel magnolias, this year's event includes lectures, education programs and a luncheon, as well as flower displays inspired by works of art in the museum. Hours 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, patron party 6 p.m.-10 and preview party 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday. Admission $75 lectures, $100 luncheon, $150 lectures and luncheon, $125 preview party, $150 and up patron party.

22-23 — Hogs for the Cause (City Park Festival Grounds, 1 Palm Drive; www.hogsforthecause.org) — A variety of bands will perform during the two-day festival. Friday features a tailgating party, and on Saturday teams will compete in the High on the Hog pork cookoff. Hours 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Admission $15 general, $250 VIP.

22-23 — Southwest Louisiana Garden Festival (Burton Coliseum, 7001 Gulf Hwy., Lake Charles, 337-475-8812; www.gardenfest.org) — The Federated Garden Clubs of Southwest Louisiana presents a flower show with information and displays about flora. Horticulture experts will diagnose plant diseases, there will be food concessions, garden-product vendors and more. Hours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission $3, children 12 and younger free.

22-24 — Louisiana Swamp Stomp (Nicholls State University campus, 331 Madewood Drive, Thibodaux, 985-448-4965; www.nicholls.edu/swamp-stomp) — The festival spotlights the food, music and culture of south Louisiana with live performances, arts and crafts sales and demonstrations, children's activities, fais do do contests, zydeco lessons and more. Hours 3:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission $10 one day, $25 weekend, children 10 and younger free.

22-24 — New Orleans Home & Garden Show (Superdome, 1500 Poydras St.; www.neworleanshomeshows.com/homeandgardenshow) — The 58th annual expo is the largest consumer home show in the region and features a wide variety of home, lawn and garden products and services, products and advice for remodeling, decorating, green building and appearances by celebrities. Hours noon-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Admission $9, $5 military with ID, children 11 and younger free.

22-24 — Terrytown Spring Festival (Terrytown Playground, 641 Heritage Ave., Terrytown, 504-349-5551; www.terrytownfestival.com) — This family-oriented three-day event has live music, a beauty pageant, food, arts and crafts, children's activites, carnival rides and a strongman contest. Hours 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.

23 — Fete Francaise (Ecole Bilingue, 821 Gen. Pershing St., 504-896-4500; www.fetefrancaise.com) — The 14th annual Francophile festival features a range of French food, art, music, children's activities and cultural demonstrations. Hours 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission free.

23 — Southdown Plantation Marketplace (1208 Museum Drive, Houma, 985-851-0154; www.southdownmuseum.org) — This 25-year-old semiannual tradition hosts more than 300 vendors offering Cajun cuisine, handmade items including jewelry, clothing, woodcrafts, art and more. The plantation house and museum are open for tours. Proceeds benefit the Terrebonne Historical & Cultural Society and Southdown Plantation & Museum. Hours 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission $5, children under 12 free.

23-24 — Congo Square Rhythms Festival (Armstrong Park, 901 N. Rampart St. 504-558-6100; www.jazzandheritage.org/congo-square) — The sixth annual festival features Cuban, African and New Orleans brass and gospel music and is held in conjunction with the Class Got Brass competition for Louisiana middle and high school brass bands. There's a kids' stage, an art market, food and drink and more. Hours 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Admission free.

23-24 — FoodFest: America's Hometown Eats (French Market, 504-888-7608; www.nolafoodfest.com) — The festival features a taste of America's most celebrated dishes, with dozens of chefs offering specialties from their areas — staged along four blocks of the French Quarter. Admission free.

24 — World Championship Crawfish Etouffee Cook-off (Northwest Community Center Pavilion, 651 Samuel Drive, Eunice, 337-457-2565; www.eunicechamber.com) — Professional and amateur cooks vie for the World Champion title. There's also lots of etouffee to sample, as well as zydeco music and dancing. Hours 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission free.

28-31 — Laotian New Year Festival (Lanexang Village, 7913 Champ Ave., Broussard, 337-364-3403; www.iberiatravel.com) — The traditional festival celebrating New Year in Laos includes a parade, beauty pageant, live music, vendors selling international merchandise, food and more. Hours vary. Admission n/a.

30 — Crescent City Classic (Race starts at Loyola Ave. and Poydras Street, post-race fest at City Park, 504-861-8686; www.ccc10k.com) — The largest 10-kilometer road race in the region, the Crescent City Classic starts at 8 a.m. and ends about 1 p.m. with a festival in City Park featuring live music, food and activities. Hours 8 a.m.-till. Admission $5 general admission, free for race registrants.

30 — Infield Festival (Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, 1751 Gentilly Blvd., 504-944-5515; www.fgno.com/tickets) — The festival celebrates the 100th running of the Louisiana Derby and features live music by Cowboy Mouth as well as more than 20 food trucks. Hours 11 a.m.-till. Admission $25 general, $60 VIP.

30 — Russian Festival for Children (Rivertown Theatres for the Performing Arts, 325 Minor St., Kenner, (504) 461-9475: www.rivertowntheaters.com) — The festival includes performances of Cinderella, a version written in 1938 by Russian author and playwright Evgeny Shvarts, by the Jefferson Ballet Theatre. Also see April 5-7. Performance 2 p.m. Admission $20, $15 seniors, $10 children.

30-April 1 — Italian Heritage Festival (Historic River District, Kenner, 504-388-8758; www.italianheritagefestival.com) — The 11th annual festival is a family-friendly event with live music, Italian cuisine, dancing, rides, arts and crafts, a 2-mile run on the levee at sunset and other activities. Hours 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday. Admission $5, children 12 and younger free.

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