Strawberry Festival brings farmer’s market feeling to Ponchatoula

The annual Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival lasted from April 7-9 about a fifty-minute drive northwest of New Orleans. The festival offered an abundance of strawberries and strawberry-flavored food and drink, not to mention many rides, carnival games and live music.

The festival, which has drawn about 300,000 people each year, attracts both locals and travelers alike, and about 100,000 people crowd the streets for the Saturday morning parade alone. The streets and grounds of the festival were tightly packed with people, making it difficult to get around. Though the queues for the many food vendors were long, they were well worth the wait; the tasty snacks and drinks demonstrated the different ways strawberries could be used in cooking.

Frozen strawberry lemonade was a refreshing companion to in the 80-degree weather. Fried strawberries, a festival highlight, were also seen throughout the small town for $1 each. Wrapped in a beignet dough flavored with vanilla, chocolate or cinnamon and deep-fried, these warm treats were hard to resist. Strawberry cheesecake was a favorite of The Arcade.

Other strawberry-based food and drink seen throughout the festival included chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry shortcake, strawberry daiquiris, strawberry Long Island Iced Teas, strawberry wine and strawberry beer. There were also strawberry plants for people to take home.

“We’ve been coming here for the past three years because it’s the best way to celebrate spring with my family, and there’s so much great food,” Baton Rouge resident Tasha Bell said.

In addition to the delicious food and drink at the festival, there were also vendors set up near the festivals entrance selling clothes, jewelry and accessories that were unrelated to Louisiana’s strawberry harvest season. Further inside the town and the grounds, there were games and about 50 family-friendly rides, which created a fair-like atmosphere reminiscent of a boardwalk carnival.