31st Annual Corn Festival to be held in Bunkie, Thursday-Saturday

The 31st Annual Louisiana Corn Festival will be held in Bunkie this Thursday-Saturday (June 8-10) on Lake Street next to Haas Auditorium on the grounds of the Bunkie Walking Track.

The festivities will begin with a Carnival Family Night on Thursday and will end with a street dance on Saturday night.

A highlight of the Corn Festival will be a visit by Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who will ride in the Corn Festival Parade Saturday morning and be on the festival grounds by 10:45 a.m.

A new addition to the festival is the Car, Truck and Bike Show on Saturday in the old Winn-Dixie parking lot on Shirley Road. All makes and models of vehicles are welcome and encouraged. The event will be held rain or shine. Vehicle registration will be from 7-10:30 a.m. Goody bags will be given to the first 100 entries. Awards will be presented at 3 p.m. The car show will feature a separate DJ, food vendors, contests for all ages and door prizes.

To enter the festival grounds there will be a $3 admission for those ages 21 and older and $1 for those under 21 on Friday and Saturday. Tickets will be required to enter all areas of the festival grounds, including the carnival.

There will be no admission fee for Family Night on Thursday.

“This is always an exciting time of the year for Bunkie as we prepare for the festival,” Bunkie Chamber of Commerce President Lele Soileau said. “Our volunteers have been working tirelessly to make this year’s festival better for the festival-goers. The car show is just one example of the volunteers working to bring something new to the festival.”

Rick Rabalais will serve as the festival Grand Marshal. Rabalais has been a supporter of the annual event since its inception. His daughter, the late Natalie Rabalais, was the first queen of the festival.

MUSICAL LINEUP

“The musical lineup, which includes music from the 1980s, country, zydeco and classic rock, will be great for everyone,” Soileau said. “We are aware of people traveling from south and central Louisiana just to see the main bands on Friday and Saturday night.”

“The Junction,” a classic rock band, will be playing country and rock favorites from 6-8:30 p.m. Friday. “Bag of Donuts” -- a popular New Orleans show band with crazy costumes -- will perform a variety of music genres from 9 p.m. until midnight.

On Saturday, “Lil Nate & The Zydeco Big Timers” will perform zydeco music from 6-8:30 p.m., followed by “Jamie Bergeron & The Kickin’ Cajuns” from 9 p.m. to midnight. The band has been featured on MTV and has produced seven CDs.

As in past years, the carnival area is open to all visitors. Bracelets entitling the wearer to unlimited rides for the entire day can be purchased for $20 each on Thursday and Friday nights. The bands will cost $25 on Saturday. The bracelets are good from 5-10 p.m. on Thursday, 5-10 p.m. on Friday, and 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Opening ceremonies for the festival will be at 5:15 p.m. Friday with the introduction of the 2017 Louisiana Corn Festival Queens and the announcement of the “Corn Farmer of the Year.”

Food and arts & crafts vendor booths will be open during the event.

A softball tournament will begin Friday afternoon and conclude on Saturday.

CONTESTS ON SATURDAY

A summer festival without contests wouldn’t be much of a festival. The Corn Festival has several set for Saturday.

Starting at 11:15 a.m., there’s the corn-shucking contest under the pavilion. At 12 noon the Lizard Races will start under the pavilion.

At 12:30 p.m. the individual Corn Cooking Contest will begin. The corn-eating contest is set for 1 p.m. under the pavilion. The pirogue races on Bayou Huffpauir will begin at 2:30 p.m. There is a $5 entry fee to participate in the race.

“We have a great group of volunteers who have stepped up this year to help the long-time dedicated volunteers run the different events at the festival,” Soileau said. “I want to thank each of them for their time and dedication they have given to make the Bunkie festival affordable to everyone.”

For more information or to register for contests visit www.bunkiechamber.net/lacornfest or “like” the Chamber’s Facebook page.

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