Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Monday, September 29, 2008

Our Summer of Immersion

There's always a party down here. We'll celebrate anything! Lake Charles is known as the Festival Capital of Louisiana. Supposedly there are at least 75 different festivals throughout the year. It seems there is a festival somewhere for something most every weekend. Most festivals center around either food, music, some obscure animal, or a combination of the above. You name it and we'll create a festival for it. Zydeco, swamp pop, alligators, crawfish, ducks, pirates, gumbo, rice, holidays (especially Mardi Gras,) french anything and cajun everything. We've got it all. My family and I called last summer our summer of immersion. We attended as many festivals as we could in order to absorb and learn about this completely new and different culture. We sampled new cuisine, all of it spicy, perused countless craft tables, coveted lots of classic cars, and rode lots of carnival rides (the kids did, anyway.) The festivals all start to look the same after awhile. Even the music quickly begins to sound the same. Don't get me wrong. I like it. It's fun and entertaining, as are the dancers. And the food is excellent.

One of the first festivals we went to was the DeRidder Watermelon Festival. Being at a festival celebrating watermelon, we naturally wanted to eat some. So we sidled up to a booth selling it. We were a bit surprised that a "slice" of melon was $4.00, but what the heck, maybe it was a fund raiser. And then the kind lady handed us our plates. Each styrofoam plate nearly buckled under the weight of a humongous wedge of watermelon. We grabbed our plastic forks and dug in.

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