Downtown New Iberia will be hosting even more of the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival this year with the move of the festival’s street fair to Bouligny Plaza.
The annual fair will be held in Bouligny Plaza and along Fulton Street near the Steamboat Warehouse Pavilion, next to where the festival’s fais-do-dos are held annually.
Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival Association board member Lisa Lourd said the move was largely due to input from festival-goers who wanted the festival in one location.
“A lot of people have requested that it be in one area,” Lourd said. “We’re giving our best effort to give the public what they want.”
In the past few years the festival’s street fair has been held at the old Iberia Sugar Cane Co-Op, with mixed reviews. Last year the street fair was fraught with rainy weather that made the street fair grounds extremely muddy and difficult to navigate and park on.
With the move, most of the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival will be held in closer proximity to each other. The art and photography shows are held at New Iberia City Park and live music already takes place in Bouligny Plaza.
As for parking, Lourd said it would be a challenge. However, she added that the festival is encouraging local property owners near downtown New Iberia to take advantage of the move and sell parking spots on their lots.
“We are encouraging people with empty yards and lots to be entrepreneurs,” Lourd said.
The street fair itself will most likely not be as large as last years due to space limitations, Lourd said, but the street fair staples like a ferris wheel will be down Fulton Street to attract local residents to make the most of the annual festival.
The New Iberia Police Department will be closing much of downtown New Iberia for the festival, from Julia to Jefferson streets, Lourd said.
There also will be other changes making their way to the festival this year. The Blessing of the Crop will be taking place in a sugar cane field during this year’s festivities. The tradition had been part of the festival for years but had been relegated to the Sugar Cane Festival Building in past years.
Another change will be the return of the Farmer’s Parade for children, which will precede the Candy Toss Parade for the festival.
The Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival will take place from Sept. 26-29. Parades, shows, fais-do-dos and other events will all be part of the fun as Iberia Parish celebrates the state’s sugar industry.