A festival quite like no other is making an official return after two years of shutdowns. This will be Delcambre's 70th year hosting Shrimp Festival and the community is eager to come back Wednesday through Sunday to celebrate everything that makes this festival so unique.
In 1950 the first shrimp festival was held in Delcambre under the name Iberia Parish Shrimp Festival and Agricultural Fair. It began as a fundraiser for the Delcambre Volunteer Fire Department, which is still a major recipient of the festival's proceeds. it officially adopted the name The Delcambre Shrimp Festival in 1974.
Now, decades from its original conception this festival is known and loved by people across the state and country.
Coming back after a pandemic
The last time the community of Delcambre was able to officially celebrate was in 2019. Two years of canceled events due to COVID restrictions left both the festival and the community in a state of limbo.
"If there was one more year that we had to cancel, it [the festival] would be a done deal." Tracey Trim, 17-year President of Delcambre Shrimp Festival told The Daily Advertiser. "We donate all our funds back into the community, not having the festival for those two years really impacted the organizations. We were still able to give some but, I'm looking forward to the Monday after the festival when we are able to give back once again."
The shrimp festival is unique in several ways. Since the festival's conception, it has been a major source of funding for the community of Delcambre— almost all the proceeds go directly back to the community.
"We're not here to get the Shrimp Festival rich, we're here to enrich our community," Trim said.
The festival is completely volunteer-operated and the food for the festival is cooked in house. Not using outside vendors has become a staple of the festival, being able to show off what Delcambre has to offer and the passion of the staff.
Preparations for the festival began in late June, with dozens of community members coming to help prepare food. More than 1,000 pounds of shrimp were peeled, cleaned, marinated, and battered for one booth at the festival. About 3,000 pounds of shrimp will be used between boiled and fried shrimp baskets with even more being used in dishes like pasta, po'boys, and sandwiches.
This year's celebration will bring back everything people have grown to love about the festival including music, dancing, food, and carnival rides. The five-day eventfrom Aug. 17 to Aug. 21 also features the famous shrimp cookoff where teams from across the region compete to see who has the best shrimp dish around. Applications are still being accepted for the cookoff, which will take place Saturday afternoon. Judging will begin at 1 p.m. with public tasting from 1:30 - 3 p.m.
"I'm representing Delcambre..."
Alaina Barras is a Delcambre high school graduate, former cheerleader and the 70th Delcambre Shrimp Festival Queen. Barras' family has been involved with the festival for decades. Her grandmother is known for working the sweets booth. For Barras, this position allows her to teach people about the community and festival she has always loved dearly.
"I'm representing three different things and I'm going to push those things on to somebody to my face turns blue," She says. "I'm representing Delcambre, I'm representing the shrimping industry, and I'm representing our festival I divide those three things into three different conversations as this conversation starter to make people more aware about all three. So my goal is to make people see the positive light of Delcambre and the shrimping industry through the words that I can impact people with."
Growing up she was never into pageants but decided to enter for shrimp queen in 2019. With that being her first competition there was a lot for her to take in and although she did not win that year she was determined to try again. The crown was not her goal in being queen, her want for the title stemmed from her love of Delcambre.
"When the third weekend of August in 2020 came around," Barras says. "There was so much social media of people celebrating in their own way. And that really hit home for me to come back and run [for queen]. There were people riding up and down the streets in golf carts and like the oldest shrimp festival t-shirt they could find. They decked out their boots with like ribbons or they like painted them with like shrimp and sombreros, like just random things."
She is hopeful her reign as queen will help people see the city and residents of Delcambre in a new light. She also hopes it will encourage younger members of the community to volunteer with the festival so this can continue to be a tradition for generations to come.
Barras has also introduced a new festival activity, house and business decorating contest. The winner will receive two entry wristbands to use on Friday or Saturday. A new photo area has also been added for guests this year.
There will be live music and rides every day of the festival. For a full list of events and performers visit http://www.shrimpfestival.net/. For festival, updates visit www.facebook.com/DelcambreShrimpFestival.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Delcambre Shrimp Festival is back after two years of shutdowns