In most places, Fourth of July is a single-day celebration of America’s Independence – filled with fun, laughter, some water, and more than likely, BBQ.
Sounds like a pretty good Fourth.
Erath, on the other hand, takes the Independence Day celebration and turns it into a month-long festival that fills the entirety of Erath’s fair grounds with competitions, shows, music, food, fireworks, Cajun carnival rides, and some specialty entertainment by local first responders.
The multi-week affair kicks off on the second Saturday in June, as the Erath Fairgrounds play host to the Baby Queen King competition for toddlers ages 6 months to 4 years. Just a week later, again on Saturday, the Queen’s of Erath will line up (ages 5 years to 23 years) in various divisions to compete for Queen of the Erath 4th of July.
The pageant begins at 5 p.m. with ages 5, 6, and 7 giving their best shot to be the Little Miss of the show. Eventually Miss 4th of July is chosen from the 18-23 year old group who compete at the end of the night. The pageant goes down at Erath City Park and is open to the public.
With the royalty set, the final Sunday in June marks a chance for all citizens and participants in Erath’s 4th of July celebration to participate in a mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.
Then, on the last Saturday of the month… party time. The gates of Erath’s City Park and Fairgrounds open, selling bracelets for $22, that allow entry into the biggest Independence Day celebration in south Louisiana. Fair-goers will smell hot, fresh jambalaya, sugar sweets, and fried… well, everything fill their nostrils as they observe flashing lights from carnival rights deep into the night.
On the first Saturday, which lasts from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., music is initially provided by DJ Wesley LeMaire and Wesbound. Starting at 7:30 p.m., the real party begins, as Dustin Sonnier takes the stage to provide music for the ‘Fais Do Do.’ He’s followed by Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, who will play their tunes until the last dancers drop.
In Cajun-land, that usually takes awhile.
If you thought that Sunday would be an off day well, that’s incorrect. The City of Erath is now in full party mode as the countdown continues toward Wednesday, July 4th. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. and music is again provided by DJ Wesley. Fair-goers can enjoy rides until the Fais Do Do at 7:30 p.m., where the Bayou Boys and special guests Larry Menard and his daughters provide a special treat for the night’s dancers.
Monday the fairgrounds are back at it at 6 p.m., with DJ music and all the rides in full swing. Layne Touchet takes over for the fais do do, but the city understands your pain – and cuts off the festivities at 10 p.m. in anticipation for the encore performance Tuesday evening, followed by the day of the 4th.
Tuesday is back to an all-night affair, with the gates officially closing at 1 a.m. The gates open at 6 p.m., with Louisiana Red leading off the bands, followed by Keith Frank. The final, pre-4th festivities? A chance to show off your moves in a dance contest, led by Keith Frank, at 11 p.m.
And then, the grand finale – Wednesday, July 4th starts off in Erath at 7 a.m. The 18th Annual Erath 4th of July 5K and Fun Run begins from the fair grounds, followed by an excellent presentation of water fights between the various fire departments in the area – right in the middle of downtown.
Then, the all-day party begins as the fairgrounds open up for rides at the early hour of 1 p.m. and stay steady until 10 p.m. that evening. Placed directly in the middle, local area companies, social groups, and clubs decorate floats for the annual 4th of July parade at 5 p.m.
Richard Lebouef kicks off the final fais do do of the season at 8 p.m., taking a brief interlude at 9 p.m. for everyone’s favorite 4th of July event – fireworks. A display never-before-seen is planned to light up the skies over Erath, with blues, whites, yellows, and reds – you won’t want to miss it. The party comes to an end between 10:30 and 11 Wednesday night, and the town of Erath comes to a rest – at least, that is, until Christmas time. Go to mostcajun.com for more info.