Cooking contests highlight weekend’s Boucherie Festival

Staff reports

SORRENTO?– The smell of cracklins and jambalaya cooking in the pot will return to the Ascension Civic Center this weekend, as the Sorrento Lions Club will host its 31st Annual Boucherie Festival.

The event will take place at Reynolds Lambert Park and inside the civic center along Airline Highway, according to Sorrento town officials.

The festival kicks off Friday with cooking in the Champion of Champion contests for both crackin and jambalaya  from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Musical performances begin at 6 p.m. with Russ Luquette and special guest Jada Roper. Then, The Reunion Band will take the stage from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Saturday’s schedule begins at 7 a.m. with the first heats in the cracklin and jambalaya cooking contests.

Also taking place Saturday morning is the festival’s  annual parade. Floats will roll from the parking lot of St. Anne's Catholic Church at 10 a.m., with the procession ending in Reynolds Lambert Park. Town Clerk Fern Barnett will serve as grand marshal.

When the parade arrives, this year’s queens, 2008 Miss Boucherie Lindsay Schexnaydre and Miss Teen Boucherie, Emily Little, will be introduced.

The two were crowned during the 2008 Sorrento Boucherie Queen Pageant, held Sept. 27 at the Sorrento Lions Club.

Cooking for the second heat of the crackin and jambalaya contests will begin at 1 p.m., with the jambalaya contest heat ending at 5 p.m. and the cracklin cooking heat ending at 6 p.m.

Saturday’s musical itinerary includes local favorites Cliff Nickens from noon to 4 p.m., The Lil’ Bayou Band from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.  and Foret Tradition from 8 p.m. to midnght.

Sunday, the third jambalaya cooking heat will kick things off at 7 a.m. At 10 a.m., cracklin cooks who make the finals will then cook for the championship untl 3 p.m., while the finals in the jambalaya contest will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Champions will be crowned in each contest at 7 p.m.

Musical acts performing at the festival Sunday include Cruzzin’ from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Kenny Cornett and Killin’ Time from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Kenny Fife closing the festival from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Announcement of the festival was delayed due to damage caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, and uncertainty over how long FEMA would need to operate at the civic center.

Each year, the Sorrento Lions club donates $2,000 in revenues from the festival to the Lions Club International general fund, and another $2,000 contribution specifically for their Crippled Children's Camp, one of which is located in Leesville. The remaining funds stay with the Sorrento Lions Club and are used for various programs and special needs. These include paying for eyeglasses and hearing aids for those who cannot otherwise afford them.

Food served at the festival includes pork jambalaya, chicken and andouille gumbo, cracklins, boudin and boudin balls, hog head cheese, barbecued pork ribs, roast pork and more.

The festival also features carnival rides and games for children of all ages. The rides and games are open during regular Festival hours.

For more information on the festival, visit