The 2009 Gretna Heritage Festival is now part of the history books, and despite the fact that Sunday was dreary and rainy, I’m sure that another new attendance record must have been set. After spending 3 days on the festival grounds, I didn’t even come close to seeing or hearing everything, but I did get a really good sampling of food, music and fun.
The festival opened on Friday afternoon to a queue of waiting people and more continued to arrive in a steady stream throughout the evening. Lines quickly formed at the various food booths around dinner time and the arts and crafts vendors seemed to be doing a steady business.
Saturday was a gorgeous day and I’m sure that any previous records for one day attendance were smashed. By the time the sun set, it was getting difficult to make your way through the streets because there were so many people.
It’s a good thing Saturday was so fabulous, because Sunday dawned full of clouds, rain and overall dreariness. That didn’t keep the die-hards from coming out though, and after the Saints finished trouncing the Jets (GEAUX SAINTS!), even more people showed up to help close out the festival.
The ferry from Canal Street ran back and forth all weekend and most of the trips were at full capacity.
We found some fabulous Tshirts, posters and other art, lots of home decor and if you’re a fleur de lis fan that couldn’t find something you loved there…well, there just might be no pleasing you!
Local artist Terrance Osborne was on hand Saturday, signing prints of some of his most popular pieces.
Posters, books, art, jewelry…something for everyone, including good stories if you took a few minutes to stop and listen. The ladies below are the authors of the books they were selling and were a delight to visit with!
While people came from all over (we met the nicest folks from Kentucky hanging out in the Italian Village), true West Bankers were showing their pride and snapping up clothes with our different communities on them. Pssst…..will someone please make an Algiers shirt for next year??
Games and Rides
With pay one price wristbands on Friday evening and Sunday evening, the kids were bouncing from one ride to the next. There were also many carnival games for them to play (to the chagrin of many moms and dads, I’m sure) in that quest for a “big prize”.
And the food – OH, the food…I gained 10 pounds just walking through the streets. OK, so maybe I sampled a few things here and there :) If you didn’t leave full, shame on you.
The biggest draw for the festival, though, is the music. Kerry Brown (who also is responsible for scheduling the Back to the River bands) always does an outstanding job of booking a wide variety of acts, and this year was no different. While I didn’t make it to some of the biggest draws (Kool & The Gang, Chicago, Jo Dee Messina) I did manage to wander enough to hear some great tunes every day, especially from our local bands and artists.
What a weekend! Thanks to all of the organizers and volunteers who make this event possible, with a special thanks to Dodie Rackley for helping me get access for all of my photos.. I hope to see you back at the Fest next year….
This is just a sampling of the pictures from the festival. Click here for more photos of the 2009 Gretna Heritage Festival. I’ll be slowly adding them over the next couple of days, so check back later!