Sunday, November 14, 2010

Destrehan fall festival a real country fair

Yesterday, I drove out to Destrehan Plantation for its annual Fall Festival. The antebellum mansion is near Luling and St. Rose, both little places along the river you've probably never heard of, but on this particular weekend, Destrehan is packed.

The event won the Southeast Tourism's Top 20 Events award and the Louisiana Fairs and Festivals Classics Award - who can beat that? It is always held at one of the loveliest times of year when you are sure autumn is finally on its way.

I have seen the nicest crafts at this fair than any I can recall. It is not high-end art like that of the Art Market, but quilts, wreaths, jewelry, antiques, Christmas decorations and kitschy home decor - 150 artists and crafters in all. Some of the exhibitors are retired folks who enjoy doing woodwork so now make bird houses and funny yard signs.

I have admired for the third year in a row the handmade quilts made by Doris Calamia of La Place, but decided once again, it is not time. When it is, I will definitely be calling Doris, perhaps to make a custom cover for my bed in a favorite color scheme.

The Fall Festival features pony rides, face-painting, tours of the plantation home, live music and volunteers demonstrating centuries-old homemaking techniques, such as indigo-dying, Bousillage construction and open-hearth cooking. You can rest on bales of hay and hear Louisiana music all weekend long.

All the local food specialties are for sale - poboys, corn and crab bisque, crab cakes, beef brisket,  pork and crawfish boudin, alligator sausage and roasted corn.

I took a quick spin around and decided on a kitchen floor mat decorated with red peppers, crawfish and tabasco sauce, as well as a Saints door wreath. Who could live without one of those?

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