Multigenerational crowd still loves the Jambalaya Festival

Gabrielle Martinez, Staff Intern
Ferris wheel

The Gonzales City Jambalaya Festival was held on the weekend of May 24 to May 26 on South Irma Boulevard. This was the 52nd annual Jambalaya Festival, which featured authentic southern Jambalaya, various amusement rides, live bands and music, and multiple different competitions.

Although the first festival was held in 1968, many of its intentions stay the same while the festival evolves more and more every year. Founder Steve Juneau intended for the festival to promote the Gonzales area by utilizing their impressive Jambalaya cooking abilities.

He effectively coined the city as the "Jambalaya Capital of the World" that citizens recognize today. As the city's notability and population grows, the Jambalaya Festival stands tall as a trademark of the Gonzales people's past, present, and future.

As a whole, the festival undoubtedly impacts the city every single year, both culturally and financially. However, it also leaves a long-standing impression on the attendees. Having started some 52 years ago, the festival is a symbol of multigenerational experiences and fun for all ages.

"I grew up three blocks away," Wayne Odom, a Gonzales native and Jambalaya Festival attendee said. "I remember coming to the festival when it was back on Burnside."

He now gets to share this experience with his daughter, who stands beside him, enjoying a snowball and the carnival rides.

Many citizens have similar experiences of childhood memories at the annual festival.

"I'm enjoying myself," Dutchtown High student Jaclyn Tortorich said. "I grew up here and have been coming here since I was a little kid. My favorite ride is the Sizzler!"

This sense of nostalgia is continuous throughout the festival grounds and even evident in the passion of the event's organizers, participants, and contributors.

The future of the Jambalaya Festival is one filled with more entertainment and prosperity, only now being run by those who spent their youth there.

The experience of the festival is one that doesn't leave attendees and continues to impact the community. As the years press on, citizens can expect nothing less from the beloved festival.

Visit the Jambalaya Festival website for more information.