JENNINGS — You’d have to be out of your gourd to miss this weekend’s second annual Acadiana Gourd Festival.
Louisiana’s only Gourd Festival, kicks off at noon today until 6 p.m. and continues 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the Jeff Davis Parish multipurpose building, 814 S. Lake Arthur Ave. (La. 26 south).
“The purpose of the festival and the Louisiana Gourd Society is to educate, promote and encourage the growing, culture, use, history, art and craftsmanship of gourds to our membership and the general public,” said Kate Bangle, president of the Louisiana Gourd Society.
Admission is $3 for adults and free for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult. Proceeds will help sponsor next year’s event.
The festival is expected to draw gourd enthusiasts and curious on-lookers for two days of gourd fun, raw and crafted gourds, gourd crafting classes, demonstrations, gourd art supplies and more, Bangle said.
Nearly 500 attended last year’s event.
Bangle has been growing, decorating and sharing her love for gourds for nearly a decade.
“Gourds are a unique art in that it is something that nature produces and you can grow in your garden, dry them and do something artistic with them,” she said.
Visitors can browse dozens of artist and merchant booths who will be selling and displaying their decorative gourds as utensils, ornaments and works of art.
Raw gourds and art supplies will also be available.
For curious crafters interested in learning more about gourds, the festival will offer 11 hands-on gourd-crafting classes including basket and jewelry making, weaving and pine needle coiling. The classes will be taught by skilled gourd artists.
Classes begin at 1 p.m. today and 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Walk-ins will be accepted during the festival if spaces are available.
There will also be a gourd seed exchange for Gourd Society members. Type of seeds available include snake, apple, Chinese bottle, canteen, penguin and pear shaped.
New to the festival this year, will be the Louisiana Gourd Society’s state bicentennial ribbon competition for youth, novice, open and master divisions. Seventy entries, including 50 in the youth division, were entered by the May 1 deadline, Bangle said.
Ribbon competition results will be announced at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Another highlight is the drawing for A Gourd Tribute to Louisiana’s Threatened and Endangered Wildlife gourd at 3:15 p.m. Saturday. Ten artists helped decorate the traveling gourd with scenes depicting the state’s threatened or endangered wildlife.
There will also be gourd door prizes and a second raffle of two gourds created by Bangle and Acadiana Gourd Society member Jeanne DiStefano.
Food will be provided for the festival by the Volunteers for Family and Community Trailblazers.