One of the great family-friendly festivals in Avoyelles Parish is set to begin on Friday night in Bunkie. The 26th Annual Louisiana Corn Festival will kick off at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 8, and run until Sunday, June 10. The festival grounds are at Haas Auditorium, corner of Pershing and Lake Street. The three-day event is free to the public.
“We are pleased to keep the festival free to visitors,” Corn Festival Chairman Joey Frank said. “It can only remain free because of the great group of volunteers that help us with the festival each year. We encourage everyone to come out and have a good time at the festival. We have some great bands and events that people of all ages can enjoy.”
The festival kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday with the 8th Annual Children’s Wagon Parade. After the Children’s Parade, a kids party will be held “under the Big Top.” Children will be able to decorate caps and eat cupcakes. The tent will cover the dance area in front of the stage.
During the opening ceremonies, the Corn Farmer of the Year will be announced, Corn Festival queens as well as guests will be introduced.
The arts and crafts booths will open and the carnival kicks off a weekend of fun. On Friday night, the carnival will have one price from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for $20. On Saturday there are two times for the $20 one price at the carnival from11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and then from 5 to 10 p.m. On Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the price to ride the carnival is $15 for the entire day.
There will be two street dances during the festival. The first is on Friday evening when “Niklbeer” takes the stage from 9 p.m. to 12 midnight. The band “Step Back” will warm up the crowd on Friday night when they hit the stage from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday.
On Saturday night, the featured band will be “Travis Matte,” which will perform from 9:30 p.m. to 12 midnight.
“Louisiana Fiya” will be on stage from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday evening.
“The bands we have coming in are excellent. They are the hottest and best known bands throughout south Louisiana,” Festival Director Phyllis O’Quin said. “I feel the festival committee did a great job in picking the bands.”
On Saturday, events kick off with a 5K run and walk starting at 7:30 a.m. The arts and crafts booths and food vendors will open at 10 a.m.
A city-wide parade is set for 11 a.m. starting at the Capital One parking lot then proceeding down Main Street to Lexington Avenue. From Lexington it will go to Keller Street and then end back to the festival grounds.
Their is still time to enter the parade by contacting Cynthia Dauzat at 346-7663. There is no entry fee to enter the parade.
After a long absence from the festival, the tennis tournament returns and will start on Friday. The matches will be played at courts throughout the city.
A complete lineup of contests will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. It will start with the Corn Shucking Contest at 12:30 p.m. followed by the Corn Eating Contest at 1:30 p.m. and the Lizard Races at 2:30 p.m. The individual cooking contest will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Corn Room behind the bandstand.
On Sunday, the talent contest will start at 11 a.m. The arts and crafts booths and food vendors will open at 10 a.m. The festival will close at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
There will also be a weekend co-ed softball tournament that starts at 5 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday morning and Sunday morning the tournament will continue at 8 a.m. A total of 16 teams including local and teams from outside the state will be competing for the title.
Ice chests and glass bottles are not allowed on the festival grounds. Visitors are asked to avoid blocking driveways or streets when parking. People are urged to bring lawn chairs.