MARY MEAUX — Festival season is here, let me walk you through what’s coming up

Published 12:08 am Thursday, March 2, 2023

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The season is almost upon us — festival season, that is.

Over the next several months there will be gumbo eating, carnival rides and food, parades, tunnel boat rides and concerts.

And what’s really neat about the upcoming family fun events is they happen right here in our own backyards.

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First off let me say I’m all about the gumbo. It doesn’t matter what kind of weather we have, I will eat gumbo. So I was really excited to learn the Port Arthur Rotary Taste of Gumbo is back as an in-person event. The goodness is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 11 at the Bowers Civic Center.

The event is the club’s biggest fundraiser, and proceeds go towards grants, scholarships and leadership development.

Coming up on the heels of Taste of Gumbo is the 50th Nederland Heritage Festival. The festival is set for March 14 to March 19 along Boston Avenue in Nederland.

There is no gate or entrance fee to the festival grounds.

This year’s musical entertainment includes Alter Ego, George Dearborn & Branded, Curse & the Cure, Brit Godwin and Pop Gun.

The event is jam packed with fun, from the car and motorcycle show, craft and collectible market to the parade and chili cook-off. Then there’s the crawfish races, washer tournament, cuisine walk with non-profit organizations selling all kinds of fair foods to the carnival rides.

The NHF is held during Spring Break for Port Arthur and Mid County students.

The South Texas State Fair is scheduled for March 23 to April 2 at Ford Park in Beaumont. The multi-day event features music, food, carnival, rodeo and more. Go to for more information.

And next comes Cajun Heritage Fest on April 1 at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center on the Lamar State College Port Arthur campus.

The festival is presented by the Southeast Texas Arts Council with support from the City of Port Arthur, Cajun Sounds Internet Radio, Texas Commission on the Arts, Porter’s Plumbing Solutions and the Foundation for Southeast Texas.

Officials met with the media this week to tout the upcoming event, which promotes the history of Cajuns through music and food.

Cajun and zydeco bands will provide the musical entertainment and I know there will be lots of dancing; I’ve seen the Cajun waltz and two-step dancers and they are amazing to watch, which is good to know since there will be a dance contest.

There’ll also be crawfish races and a crawfish eating contest, children’s activities, food vendors, beer and beverages.

Family fun events continue May 3 to May 7 with Port Neches RiverFest at Port Neches Riverfront Park.

The Neches River provides the venue for the F1 Powerboat Championship races — the signature event of the festival. There will also be live music, carnival crafts and market, food vendors and more.

Details will be released soon, according to the Port Neches Chamber of Commerce.

So, if you’re looking for something fun to do in the coming months, there’s plenty to choose from.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at