Sorrento Lions Club's Boucherie and Balloon Festival set for October
The Sorrento Lions Club's Boucherie and Balloon Festival returns Oct. 8-9 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.
The event includes hot-air balloons, jamabalaya and cracklin cookoffs, live music, and shopping.
The Boucherie and Balloon Festival is a fundraiser to support the Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation and the Louisiana Lions Children’s Camp.
A boucherie is a Cajun tradition that was brought from France and Acadia, according to the club's site. When the Cajuns first settled in the swamps and woods of southern Louisiana, they had no refrigeration, so each family would wait until the appropriate time each fall to butcher the hogs to have meat for the winter.
The modern festival began in the 1960s at George Savario's camp in Acy, which is just east of Sorrento. He was a Lions Club Charter Member and former Mayor of Sorrento.
In 1978, three Lions Club members, John N. LeBlanc Sr., A.J. Kling Jr., and Roland Melancon suggested turning the boucherie into a large festival.
In the early 1980s, former Mayor John N. LeBlanc Jr. and the town's council passed a resolution requesting the state legislature name Sorrento the "Boucherie Capital of the World." It was presented to former Sen. Joe Sevario and Rep. Juba Diez. Sorrento was named "Co-Boucherie Capitol of the World," a distinction it shares with Marksville.
Since 1981, there has been a "Cracklin Cooking Contest." In 1987, a "Champion of Champions Cooking Contest" began. A jambalaya competition started in 1995. "Miss Boucherie" is also crowned every year.
The festival moved from its permanent home in Sorrento to Gonzales' Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in 2016. And in 2019, the Boucherie Festival teamed up with the Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival.
The 2021 festival volunteers are looking for sponsors and vendors.