Laissez les bons temps rouler!– Cajun for, “Let the good times roll!” In South Louisiana, we work hard and play even harder. That’s why you’ll always find something happening in Opelousas. From our festivals honoring the sweet potato and Zydeco music to events like church fairs and our celebration of Mardi Gras, there is always something for everyone in Louisiana’s third oldest city.
Here’s a listing of our annual events, but please be sure to check our website often or give us a call for a full listing of all our fairs, festivals and other events.
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
Delta Grand Theatre– This historic theater, located in downtown Opelousas across from the courthouse, is currently being restored, and is open for various arts and cultural events throughout the year. The Delta Grand is located at 120 S. Market Street. For current and upcoming events, call (337) 407-1806.
Evangeline Downs Racetrack, Casino & Hotel– Evangeline Downs offers a myriad of entertainment options. Large concerts sporting big name entertainers are held at the Event’s Center, while other live events are held at Mojo’s Sports Bar and Zydeco’s in the Casino. 2235 Creswell Lane in Opelousas. Call 866-472-2466 for more information on current and upcoming events.
Opelousas Little Theatre– Founded in 1939, this is one of the oldest running community theaters in Louisiana. OLT’s season is January through December and consists of five to six shows a year. Located in the old Episcopal Church of the Epiphany (built circa 1880) in South City Park at Creswell Lane and Union Street. Admission charged. For a listing of this year’s production and for ticket information, call (337) 948-3284.
SPRING & FALL
Music & Market– Enjoy the best in local music and fresh homegrown produce at the Music & Market Series, presented by the City of Opelousas Office of Tourism. Music & Market happens every Friday on selected dates in April and May, and again in September and October of each year. Events are scheduled at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion near Le Vieux Village and around the historic Courthouse Square. 5:30 – 8:30 pm with music beginning at 6 pm. Click here to download the 2011 Music & Market Spring Schedule.
SPRING, SUMMER & FALL
Opelousas Farmers Market– Discover St. Landry Parish’s rich bounties of homegrown fruits, vegetables, preserves and jellies, handcrafts and more. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 7:00 am – 11:00 am April – November. Sponsored by the St. Landry Parish Farmer’s Association. Located at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion at 925 E. Landry Street near Le Vieux Village. For more information, call (337) 948-0561.
Mardi Gras in Historic Opelousas– Mardi Gras is celebrated in downtown Opelousas beginning at 11:00 am as the Half-Fast Krewe of Frank’s parade rolls down East Landry Street and winds its way back to Frank’s via historic Bellevue Street. Following the parade, live entertainment, featuring traditional Cajun and Zydeco music, food and street dancing take place around the Courthouse Square. For more information, call (337) 407-2288.
Here’s the Beef Cook-off– Calling all carnivores! This long-running annual event, sponsored by the St. Landry Parish Cattleman’s Association, features some of the best food from the area’s greatest cooks, weekend chefs and aspiring culinary artists. Live entertainment and an old-fashion trail ride round out the day’s events. Held at the Ag Arena on the Yambilee Fair Grounds at 1939 West Landry Street in Opelousas. For more information, call (337) 945-0364 or (337) 684-6751.
Evangeline Downs Racetrack, Casino & Hotel– “Ils sont parties!” – French for “They’re off!” can be heard by the Cajun announcer as the horses begin their trek around the track. The first “Racino” built in the U.S., this modern racing facility offers the very best in Thoroughbred Horse racing and includes betting and viewing access to tracks from around the county. Season begins in April and runs through mid-September. Post time: 5:40 pm. Don’t miss out on the fun! Located at 2235 Creswell Lane in Opelousas. Call 866-472-2466 for more information.
Opelousas Spice & Music Festival– Opelousas is the “Spice Capital of Louisiana” and this annual festival celebrates the city’s contribution to all things hot and spicy! This event features traditional French and Cajun music, Zydeco, Soul, R&B, Swamp Pop and Country music, along with delicious Cajun and Creole food. Arts and crafts, jam sessions, a pepper eating contest, pageant and carnival are also part of the fun. Held the first weekend in June. Admission charged. Call (337) 948-5227 for more information.
July 14 - Annual Gathering of the Louisiana Orphan Train Society, Opelousas. Louisiana Orphan Train Museum, 223 S. Academy St in Le Vieux Village. Gathering of members and descendants of New York orphans who came to Louisiana in early 1907 for new homes. Guests welcome. 1-5 pm. Free. (337) 942-9922, 942-7845.
Annual Boogie Ball and Auction– The St. Landry – Evangeline United Way, sponsors of this annual event, will celebrate the area’s deep Swamp Pop musical roots while benefiting a worthy cause. This major fundraiser features “The Boogie Kings” swamp pop and blue-eyed soul musical group and features a large buffet-style dinner, drinks and dancing. All proceeds goes to the St. Landry – Evangeline United Way. Held on the last Saturday in August at the Opelousas Civic Center, 1638 Creswell Lane. For more information, call (337) 942-7815 or email your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, August 4, 2012 Annual Zydeco King & Queen Ball- King & Queen ball, gala contest event- $20.00 per person. Contest information available by contacting SDF 337-942-2392. Event to be held at the North Park Civic Center.
Saturday, August 18, 2012 22nd Annual Fun Run- (South Park Opelousas) Zydeco Family Fun Day in the park with music, food and awards for participation in the 5k (Offical Registered Track) or 1 mile (Walk Or Run).
Friday, August 31, 2012 Kick-Off Dance- Slim's Y-KiKi 10:00- until.
Zydeco Breakfast Under the Oaks– This annual breakfast, complete with live Cajun and Zydeco music, is held on the grounds of the St. Landry Parish Courthouse in downtown historic Opelousas. Held the morning of the Zydeco Festival on Labor Day weekend. Free. Call 800-424-5442 or (337) 948-5227for more information.
Allons Rouleé!Cycle Ride – Held the morning of the Zydeco Breakfast in Opelousas. Bike ride features 25 mile or 50 mile route through historic Opelousas and other areas of scenic and historic St. Landry Parish. Enjoy refreshments and music following the ride. Begins at 7:00 am on the morning of the Zydeco Festival. For more information and registration details, call (337) 945-4969.
AnnualSouthwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival– This festival, the original festival honoring and celebrating Zydeco music, began in the early 1980s and was first held in a field near Opelousas, making the city the Zydeco Capital of the World. Today, the festival is held each Labor Day weekend and celebrates the spicy culture of the Creoles of Color in Louisiana by highlighting, documenting, preserving and enhancing their rich heritage. It features the best zydeco performers and bands in the state, along with dance events, traditional storytelling, discussions and presentations about the history of the music, including its Creole French, African-American and Caribbean influences. Kick-off party held the Thursday evening before the festival and includes a parade, jam session and food. On Friday, a dance contest is held at the world-famous Slim’s Y Ki-Ki Zydeco Club. Saturday is the festival. Festival grounds located at 457 Zydeco Road off US Hwy. 167 north of Opelousas in the small community of Plaisance. Admission charged. For more information, call (337) 942-2392 or (337) 232-7672.
Evangeline Downs Racetrack, Casino & Hotel– “Ils sont parties!” – French for “They’re off!” can be heard by the Cajun announcer as the horses begin their trek around the track. The first “Racino” built in the U.S., this modern racing facility offers the very best in Quarter Horse racing and includes betting and viewing access to tracks from around the county. Season begins in October and runs through mid-December. Post time: 5:40 pm. Don’t miss out on the fun! Located at 2235 Creswell Lane in Opelousas. Call 866-472-2466 for more information.
Voices from the Past: St. Landry Catholic Church Cemetery Tours– Travel to a place where voices from the past will greet you as you journey back nearly three centuries of events in the Opelousas area. This historic reenactment takes places on the grounds of the historic St. Landry Catholic Church Cemetery, located at 1020 North Main Street. It explores and shares the stories of Opelousas residents buried at the historic cemetery and reveals the unique role each has played in the development of Opelousas, St. Landry Parish and the state. Held the first and second weekends in October. $10.00 admission fee charged. All proceeds benefit the Historic St. Landry Catholic Church Cemetery Restoration Project. Reenactments, performed by actors from the Opelousas Little Theatre, are not handicapped accessible and are not recommended for children 10 years of age and under. For more information call 800-424-5442 or (337) 942-8318.
Louisiana Yambilee Festival(Louisiana Sweet Potato Festival)– Also known as the “National Sweet Potato Frolic,” this traditional agricultural festival is the longest, continuously running agricultural festival in South Louisiana. Started in 1946 by J.W. “Bill” Low and Felix Dezauche to honor and celebrate the area’s sweet potato crop, this festival includes plenty of live music; pageants; the traditional sweet potato auction; crop exhibits; cooking contest and demonstrations; arts and crafts; and, an old-fashion carnival complete with great local food. The week’s long celebration culminates on Sunday with the annual Grand Louisiyam Parade, which begins at 1:00 pm and travels west on Landry Street and ends at the Yambilee Building at the fairgrounds. The fair grounds are located at 1939 West Landry Street (US Hwy. 190) in Opelousas. Held the last full weekend in October. Admission charged. Call (337) 948-8848 for more information.
Creole Festival– The annual Holy Ghost Catholic Church Creole Bazaar and Festival is held the first weekend in November. This three day event features Creole food; Zydeco music; games; arts and crafts sale; food demonstrations; a parade; and, a Gospel choir concert. Festival is held on the grounds of the old Holy Ghost Catholic School at 788 North Union Street. Free admission. For more information, call (337) 942-2732.
French Friday on Main Street (Vendredi en Francais)- Held the first Friday in November in conjunction with Louisiana Main to Main Cultural Road Show, spotlights the historic downtown area of Opelousas with a French heritage flare. Plenty of authentic Cajun and Creole foods as well as an Art Walk. Event Held around St. Landry Parish Courthouse Square, 118 S. Court Street, Opelousas, LA. 6pm-10pm. 337-948-5227.
Christmas in Old Opelousas– A month long, city-wide celebration of Christmas in Louisiana’s third oldest city. Homes and businesses are colorfully decorated for the holiday season. Special events are planned throughout the Opelousas area during the month of December. Spend the evening driving through neighborhoods and discover beautifully lighted homes with traditional, and sometimes contemporary, Christmas decorations. Take a stroll through the Opelousas Historic District and discover old homes decorated in the holiday spirit of years gone by. Don’t forget to visit the historic St. Landry Parish Courthouse Square in downtown Opelousas. There you will find a life-size Nativity scene. Be sure to check out our website’s home pagefor events, sign-up to be on our mailing listor call 800-424-5442 for more information.
Lighting at the Village– One of the special events held at Le Vieux Village each year is the annual holiday lighting ceremony. Christmas comes alive every December when the Village is set aglow with thousands of holiday lights for all to enjoy. Music is heard throughout the Village as local choirs sing traditional Christmas carols. This event is the prelude of the Holiday Season and continues through New Year’s Day. Enjoy refreshments, games, and arts and crafts. There is also a special visit by Papa Noël himself! December 1st. Free event. Located at Le Vieux Village, 828 East Landry Street, one mile west of I-49. Call 800-424-5442 or (337) 948-5227 for more information.
Opelousas Children’s Christmas Parade– This traditional Christmas parade is for young and the young at heart. The parade features colorfully lit Christmas floats, area high school marching bands and, the person everyone is waiting for, Santa Claus! The parade begins at St. Landry Catholic Church and travels down Main Street, turns onto Union Street before heading east on Creswell Lane, where it terminates at Vista Village Shopping Center. Held each year on the second Thursday in December. Parade rolls at 6:00 pm. For more information call (337) 948-2589.