For one weekend each year, the sleepy town of Colfax, Louisiana becomes the center of the pecan universe. Usually held in early November, the Louisiana Pecan Festival draws visitors from all corners of the country to celebrate the pecan, a famous nut that is commonly used in the region. From salads to pecan pies, the many versatile uses of the nut are on display at the festival, with attendees able to sample different varieties that have a unique taste. The average attendance at the event is roughly 70,000 people per year.
Colfax is located in the Grant Parish of Louisiana and the Louisiana Pecan Festival has origins in the the centennial celebration of the parish from the year 1969. With the positive response of the centennial event, the organizers decided to make the festival an annual occurrence that celebrated the frontier attitude of the community. However, over time the idea shifted, with the attention then being placed on the pecan, an agricultural focal point for the region. As the festival has increased in popularity, it has expanded from being a 2 day event to taking 3 days for all of the festivities and events to be completed.
As would be imagined, the Louisiana Pecan Festival has many different events and competitions. The event kicks off with a children’s day on Friday and the majority of the main attractions being held on Saturday. A parade announces the beginning of the festival on Saturday and the day ends with a fireworks show at the location. Of course, there are also several cooking events that show off the diversity of the pecan, with the best pecan pie being one of the treasured awards. Contestants also make jams, jellies, and other items that use the pecan. However, there is one popular event that visitors await each year.
The crowning of the Louisiana Pecan Festival Queen is the most popular event of the festival and happens on Friday night. The visitors come together during the Queen’s Ball to vote on the many beautiful girls of the region and decide which one will be named as the queen. The winner of the Queen’s Ball is featured during the parade, where she rides atop a float as one of the honored guests.
The Louisiana Pecan Festival is filled with musical acts that perform each day at several locations, specializing in many different genres like rock, blues, zydeco, and jazz. As the last musicians play on Sunday, the festival winds down to a close at around 5:00pm. The enjoyable time that is had by most visitors has built the popularity of the event by word of mouth and each year the Louisiana Pecan Festival grows by leaps and bounds.