Downtown Baton Rouge

Gonzales Jambalaya Festival Dishes Up Fun and Tradition

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The Jambalaya Festival is held annually throughout the Memorial Day weekend in Gonzales, which is known by locals as the “Jambalaya Capital of the World.” This family-friendly event is one of the largest festivals in the state and offers live music on three stages, parades and enough jambalaya to feed thousands.

The first Jambalaya Festival was held in 1968 and grew to more than 50,000 people within a few years. The festival has continued to grow and now includes activities such as a 5k run, sky diving exhibitions, hot air ballooning, dance performances, as well as baseball, tennis and golf tournaments.  Additional attractions include carnival rides, which festivalgoers of all ages can enjoy and an arts and crafts show.

One of the weekend’s featured events is a jambalaya cook-off, and the winner is declared the “World Champion” of jambalaya cooking. Similar to Spanish paella, jambalaya got its name from the Spanish word jamón, meaning ham, which is a traditional ingredient of the dish. 

Photo Credit: Jambalaya Festival