Laissez les bon temp rouler!
Let the good times roll at this year's Shrimp & Petroleum Festival.
Every Labor Day weekend for the past 80 years, the community of Morgan City, Louisiana, have been hosting this festival to celebrate the seafood and petroleum industries, which provide the backbone of the area's economic development.
While shrimp and oil might not seem like the best combination (outside of a nice scampi, that is), nevertheless, they are the perfect paring for this community, especially as they prepare for their 81st festival.
Shrimp & Petroleum: A History
The makings of the festival go as far back as 1936 when the port at Morgan City and Berwick received the first ever boatload of jumbo shrimp (fished by a small boat). The first celebration was held on Labor Day when members of the local Gulf Coast Seafood Producers & Trappers Association staged a friendly labor demonstration; shrimpers, fishermen, oystermen, dock workers, and frog and alligator hunters paraded through the streets, marking the the first street parade. It certainly wouldn't be the last.
In 1937, Paul Acklen LeBlanc (chairman of the festival committee) led the first Blessing of the Fleet upon Berwick Bay.
In 1967, Petroleum joined in on the festivities. By this time, the Petroleum Industry has developed and had "firmly implanted its roots in the area economy." From this moment forward, The Festival bore its new (and current) name: The Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival. It has the proud honor of being the oldest state-chartered harvest festival in Louisiana.
The festival recognizes and celebrates the hardworking men and women of both the seafood and petroleum industries, as both serve important economic roles in the area, and have done so for the better part of the past century. Despite their differences, the industries go hand-in-hand, and the festival is designed so everyone, regardless of socioeconomic background, and enjoy and participate in the festivities.
Labor Day Weekend Festivities
The festival always occurs during the Labor Day Weekend. This year, which marks the 81st festival, will be held from Thursday, September 1 through Monday, September 5th in Downtown Morgan City, LA.
This year's festival will feature an art show and sale, a display of local home-style Cajun and Creole cooking, a street parade, fireworks on the river, a children's village, and an array of (free) live music. Follwoing tradition, the festival will feature the "Historic Blessing of the Fleet" on the Atchafalaya River, followed by a water parade of decorated shrimp boats, pleasure crafts, offshore supply boats, and muscle boats.
Admission into the festival is free, though food, drinks, rides, and arts and crafts cost extra.