It’s Festival Time in Natchitoches!

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As the temperatures begins to heat up, so does Natchitoches Parish.  Gather all your traveling buddies, throw on your shades (and sunblock), fill up your car and hit I-49.  It’s time for some old-fashion fun!

Cookin’ on the Cane BBQ Festival/Cook-off

The Natchitoches Area Jaycees will host the first annual Cookin’ on the Cane BBQ Festival in downtown Natchitoches.  Held on the downtown riverbank, this cook-off is open to professional and non-professional cooks.  There will also be a children’s BBQ chicken cook-off open to ages 5 -16.  This event is an IBCA competition. Attendees will not be able to taste the foods, but food vendors will be available along with children’s activities and live entertainment.  For more information call Josh Manatos at (337) 401-0883 or visit www.natchitochesjaycees.com/bbq.

Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival

The Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival will celebrate its 36th annual event on June 12th – 13th at historic Melrose Plantation.  The Festival will feature more than 100 craftsmen from at least eight states. The Festival is sponsored by the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches.

A new edition to the festival will be Copeland’s Ice Cream from Theodore, Alabama.  Copeland’s Ice Cream was started in 2002 by Robert Copeland and his father who decided to market their famous homemade ice cream.  The first year they attended six festivals and are now attending more than 20 in six states.  The ice cream is powered by motors and a batch can be churned in 15 minutes.  Serving a variety of flavors, Robert and his wife Renea are also known for their delicious floats.  They may be reached at (251) 656-7700 or (251) 605-6114.

Returning to the festival this year will be painter Cory Carlson and his wife Laura who specializes in jewelry making.  Cory’s paintings are well known for his use of color, light and the life like quality of his work and Laura’s jewelry pieces are handmade original designs.  Cory will also be doing caricatures this year.

Other items to be displayed and sold include wooden sculptures, unique yard art, handcrafted jewelry, handmade candles, children’s clothing and ironwork. There is a $5.00 admission fee for adults, $2.00 for children age six to 12, and under age six are admitted free. Tours of the main house and the African House will be $5.00 for the two days.

Melrose Plantation is located 18 miles south of Natchitoches on Highway 119. For more information about the festival or to become a vendor, contact Sue Davidson at (318) 379-0800 or carriedavidson@hughes.net.

If you’re in town, stop by the Natchitoches Welcome Center at 781 Front Street.  The Center is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm with the exception of some major holidays.  Contact the Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 259-1714 or (318) 352-8072 for event or accommodation information.  Visit online at www.natchitoches.net.