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Day Tripping

Fairs and festivals provide daylong adventures within easy driving distance from New Orleans



Festivals provide a variety of sights, sounds, tastes, activities and opportunities for your children to learn about Louisiana's culture all in one place, often for a low — or free — admission price. Here are some suggestions for spring and summer outings, all within about a 90-minute drive of metro New Orleans.

April 11-12
Kite Fest Louisiane

West Baton Rouge Soccer Complex, 3383 Rosedale Road, Port Allen, (225) 344-2920; www.westbatonrouge.net
Trip notes: 84 miles, 90 minutes drive time
Because it's the only kite festival in Louisiana, the event provides a rare opportunity to see professional kite teams from across the U.S. perform kite choreography in the skies above the festival grounds. Visitors can build and fly a kite. There also are children's activities, live music, food vendors and a fireworks display. Hours 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission free.

April 24-26
Spring Fair
Deaux Deaux
St. Joan of Arc Church and School, 529 W. Fifth St., LaPlace, (985) 652-9100; www.sjachurch.com
Trip notes: 28 miles, 34 minutes drive time
Church and school fairs can be a safe and comfortable place to take your kids, and this three-day "fair" has morphed into a three-day citywide festival featuring live music, carnival rides, games, a kids' stage, and food vendors. Hours 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 1 p.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. Admission free.

May 15-17
Plaquemines Parish Seafood Festival
225 F. Edward Hebert Blvd., Belle Chasse, 504-394-6328; www.plaqueminesparishfestival.com
Trip notes: 12 miles, 25 minutes drive time
A quick hop to the West Bank and Belle Chasse will get you to the festival, where you can take a helicopter ride over the river, dance to Rockin' Dopsie, Dash Rip Rock and other bands, eat lots of Louisiana seafood and explore the carnival rides along the midway. There's also a car show and an oyster drop.

May 23-25
Jambalaya Festival

Irma Boulevard, Gonzales, (225) 647-2937; www.jambalayafestival.org
Trip notes: 59 miles, 60 minutes drive time
The big draws to this festival are the food — the event features jambalaya cooking contests — and about 20 bands performing live. There's also a car show and carnival rides. Hours and admission TBA.

June 19-21
Catfish Festival
St. Gertrude the Great Catholic Church, 17324 Highway 631, Des Allemands, (985) 758-7542; www.louisianacatfishfestival.com
Trip notes: 34 miles, 37 minutes drive time
Besides the opportunity to sample catfish and other seafood prepared lots of different ways, the festival has live music, midway rides, children's games, a plant booth, raffles, arts and crafts and more. Hours 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. Admission free.

July 4

A night view of the Bucktown Bash. - PHOTO BY AMIE GERVAIS
  • Photo by Amie Gervais
  • A night view of the Bucktown Bash.
Bucktown Bash
Bucktown Marina, 325 Hammond Highway, Metairie, (504) 364-2650
Trip notes: 10 miles, 12 minutes drive time
It's only a few minutes from New Orleans and provides a family-oriented celebration on the lakefront. Children can watch the blessing of the shrimp fleet before the festival starts. There are children's activities, live entertainment, arts and crafts and Bucktown food vendors. Hours 11a.m.-8 p.m. Admission $5, free ages 12 and younger.

July 17-18
Swamp Pop
Music Festival
The Lamar Dixon Expo Center, 9093 S. St. Landry Ave., Gonzales, (225) 769-9994; www.swamppopmusicfest.com
Trip notes: 56 miles, 60 minutes drive time
There are many things to like about this festival: It features live swamp pop music, which may be new to your kids' ears, a jambalaya cook-off, proceeds benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation — and some music stages are indoors. There also are children's activities, a car and truck show, motorcycle poker run and more. Hours 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission $10 Friday, $15 Saturday.

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