More than one reason to attend the Heritage Festival

Published 7:07 pm Tuesday, March 13, 2018

By Lorenzo Salinas


NEDERLAND — The excited cry of children, the sweet smell of funnel cake, the kinetic flash of fast rides, the warm light of a pleasant afternoon — all and more were present for the first day of the Nederland Heritage Festival on Boston Avenue.

On a sunny and clear day, the historic avenue was filled with throngs of people as the festival celebrated its 45th year of providing all-ages fun for family, friends and neighbors. It also provided many reasons for attending.

“What is the Nederland Heritage Festival? What is it for?” asked lifelong Nederland resident Chris Kolb.

“It’s for bringing the community back together,” Mike Torver said, as he brought his daughter back from a swinging bus ride.

“A lot of people are just looking for fun,” Tracy Dupre said as she helped her son aim a water gun at a stuffed unicorn.

In highlighting his grasp of local history, Kolb said the heritage part of the heritage festival was to commemorate the first year Dutch settlers came over to what would be called Nederland.

“A lot of people see the name ‘Nederland’ and want to pronounce it ‘Ne-ther-land’ because of the Dutch ancestry,” Kolb said. “This festival is a way of celebrating the history.”

“I came over because it’s the first day and because it’s a beautiful spring day,” Beaumont resident Kevin Quebodeaux said. “Really, it’s been a trend for my daughter and me for a dozen years.”

As with most of the attendees who responded, Quebodeaux said the draw for him and his daughter were the food and the carnival rides respectively.

“It’s a huge thing for the community. People are coming together after a natural disaster,” Quebodeaux said. “It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve been here in rain, drizzle or sunshine.”

Kolb said he’s been attending the festival since the early ‘80s; although, he admits it wasn’t the storied history of Nederland that first drew him to its popular outdoors event.

“What draws me now is the food. As a younger tyke, I was attracted to the carnival rides,” he said.

Down the food alley, the Knights of Columbus in Nederland have been operating their stall for 40 years, nearly the entire length of the festival itself.

KOC member Don Tate said they were one of the first entities to work at the festival and that their favorite aspect of it is that only nonprofit organizations work the food stalls.

“All the money stays here,” Tate said. “People need fun. This is probably one of the first fun things they’ve done in awhile.”

Pointing in the direction of the bigger rides, Kolb said his 10-year-old daughter comes to the festival for the same reason he did as a kid — the carnival rides.

“As you get older, you start to acknowledge the (history) more,” Kolb said; then, he added with a laugh: “It just keeps getting gooder and gooder.”