The Avoyelles Arts & Music Fest (AAMF) returns to downtown Marksville this July 4th with a stellar line-up of entertainment, arts, crafts and food vendors, BBQ Cook Off and fun and games for the kids. “Our goal is to become Louisiana’s July 4th destination festival and after the overwhelming success of last year’s event, hopefully we’re on our way to accomplishing that,” says Allison Ravare-Augustine, President of the Avoyelles Arts Council and Chair of AAMF 2013.
The festival will take place on the festival grounds located between Main and Washington Streets in downtown Marksville, situated and anchored by Fresh Catch Bistreaux on Hwy. 1 (Tunica Drive). Thanks to local and corporate sponsors such as Paragon Casino Resort and Ayneka Bruno State Farm, the festival is free and open to the public. The hours of the festival are 10:00am to 8:00pm. Festival goers should make note that no ice chests or personal ATV’s are permitted on festival grounds. There will be a main stage surrounded by arts, crafts and food vendors. The deadline for booth registration for all vendors is June 15th, and interested vendors can call the numbers listed below.
This year’s entertainment once again features the best Louisiana has to offer, including Budweiser stage headliners, Grammy Award winners and New Orleans Jazz Fest favorites Rebirth Brass Band. Also on this year’s bill are Cajun fiddler Amanda Shaw and the Cute Boys, Nouveau Zydeco king Chris Ardoin, Lafayette’s breakout indie band Brass Bed, and Johnny Chauvin and the Mojo Band. The BBQ Stage will play host to a number of regional acts as well, including History Channel fixture Gerard “The Stump Jumper” Dupuy (Traditional Cajun and storytelling), Alexandria’s Mitch Attales & The Band of Saints (Country with a rock edge) and Paradise (Swamp Pop combo).
In addition to all the great live music, the festival is the site of the IBCA-sanctioned Avoyelles BBQ Cook Off, which features $4,000 in cash payouts and a custom grand champion trophy. “We’ve got teams coming from all over, and we’ve even added brisket so winners can continue to the state championship,” says BBQ Chairperson Bart Jones. Grillmasters interested in entering the cook off can call Bart at (318) 305-6000 or e-mail Bart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adding to the fun is a Poker Run which meets at Fresh Catch before proceeding to various stops in the parish. There will also be an Art Battle where teams can compete for a $100 cash prize by creating patriotic-themed murals that festivalgoers can vote on. Anyone interested in the Poker Run or Art Battle can call Leah Morace at (318) 229-2506 to register.
If you are coming from out of town, plan to stay for Marksville’s July 4th Parade, the longest running July 4th parade in the state. The festival will end just in time to enjoy fireworks after dark, located about a mile down by Paragon Casino Resort.
For more information on the Avoyelles Arts & Music Fest, please call Allsion Ravare-Augustine (318) at 264-9392 or Van Roy at (318) 240-3495.