PONTCHATOULA, La. (WGNO) — There’s a lot going on in Louisiana this month, from Lafayette’s Festival International later this month, to French Quarter Fest in New Orleans this weekend. But, one festival you will surely want to take a bite out of is located in the Strawberry Capital of the World in Tangipahoa Parish — the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival!
Starting Friday (April 14), this free three-day event will feature rides, live music, and of course, all the strawberries you can eat! In Ponchatoula, they’ve been celebrating the strawberry, and the farmers who grow them, since 1972.
“Ponchatoula is known as the Strawberry Capital of the World. There’s rides, tons of food everywhere. Going into the Strawberry Festival, there’s a strawberry row, where all the farmers are,” Harris Farms owner Trey Harris tells WGNO.
And on top of the delicious food, comes a delicious boost to the local community.
“People come in and they not only attend the festival, but they may buy gas or they go to a restaurant and eat, so it’s a good economic boost for the parish,” Grand Marshal Gary Stanga explained. “All your civic organizations that are involved — they use that money to put back into the community. So yeah, it’s a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.”
The first Strawberry Festival in 1972 operated on a $500 budget and drew about 15,000 people. Today, Poncatoula welcomes nearly 300,000 locals and visitors alike for a weekend of rides, rhythm, and respect for the juicy red fruit in every form.
You can visit Strawberry Fest beginning at 12 p.m. on Friday, April 14. The event runs until Sunday.