"It's community outreach," said Hymel. "We want to bless the community with a clean, family-friendly event that they can come to, be blessed, make memories with their families."

The South Louisiana Family Festival welcomed thousands of people to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center last weekend for its eighth annual event. The festival is hosted by the Legacy Foundation and features tons of family-friendly attractions and exhibits.

Legacy Foundation executive director Scott Hymel said this event began eight years ago with a group of men who wanted to start a rodeo event to reach out to the community. He said they wanted to put something together where everyone in the family would have something to do.

"It's community outreach," said Hymel. "We want to bless the community with a clean, family-friendly event that they can come to, be blessed, make memories with their families."

Hymel said it started with just a couple hundred people coming to Colonial Stables for the rodeo. Nearly a decade later, the event now spans more than a weekend and sees around 20,000 people coming through the gates. Hymel said they added a fair and tons of other attractions to the festival.

The fairgrounds were open throughout the four-day event. Visitors hopped on the 17 fair rides set up in the parking lot, including favorites like carousels and Ferris wheels. Of course, concession stands offered all the best fair foods like fried Oreos, funnel cakes, and more.

One main attraction during the festival was the concert on Thursday night. Christian musician Crowder headlined the event with his southern rock/bluegrass style of worship music. He was preceded on stage by the California-based band The Young Escape, which is made up of siblings ages 14 to 21 whose musical talent far surpasses their age. Crowder and The Young Escape answered questions from VIP fans during a meet and greet before the show.

The Church Vessel opened up the concert on Thursday. The band made up of members from each of the five locations of The Church was equally as impressive as the headlining acts.

The Ag Adventure boasted more than 75 educational exhibits. Guests could see all kinds of animals, plants, and even exotic reptiles under the tents outside. Kids could even take pictures with sloths, bearcats, and kangaroos. The camel rides, pony rides, and pig races were also tons of fun.

The extreme kids rodeo on Saturday was a huge crowd pleaser. In stick horse bull riding, kids showed off their riding skills by imitating riding a bull, and riders competed for the fastest times in the stick horse barrel racing.

A free fishing rodeo for kids under 12 was held in the pond at Lamar-Dixon. Saturday morning also featured a color run with hundreds of people racing around the expo center for the fastest time in the 5k.

Team roping competitions were held in the arena on Saturday morning, while lawnmower races were put on in the back arena that afternoon. The Extreme Car and Truck show presented by Tire Engineers was set up inside the 4-H building. Jambalaya and BBQ cook-offs were held on Saturday, as well as a motorcycle competition.

It was four full days of family fun at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center for the South Louisiana Family Festival.

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