The 11th annual Blackpot Festival and Cookoff (October 28-29) is the ultimate antidote to Halloween-style hedonism and the ideal weekend destination for Houstonians looking to dodge the holiday fray.
The festival, located about three and a half hours east in Vermillionville, Louisiana, is a two-day celebration of southern Louisiana food, music and dance. With two stages for live music performances (the lively Dancehall stage and the more subdued Chapel stage), the event will feature a wide range of the best Cajun, zydeco and Americana that the Gulf Coast has to offer. Friday performances will feature the Southern discomfort of Mark Rubin, Jew of Oklahoma; the zydeco guitar stylings of Paul “Lil’ Buck” Sinegal; and the dance-ready francophone songs of Pine Leaf Boys. Saturday's bill is fuller, including an early-afternoon square dance, the Grammy award-winning Los Texmaniacs and a performance from festival organizers The Revelers.
But don't forget about the draw of the blackpot itself. Saturday features the festival's cookoff, where entrants compete by cooking standard Louisiana fare (naturally, all entries must be cooked in a blackpot). Last year's winners featured scrumptious options like turkey-neck gravy, pork-finger jambalaya and fig-stuffed beignets. Once all the pots are scraped clean, visitors can opt to return to the Blackpot Camp, which features nightly music lessons and dances (there are also plenty of nearby hotels to book too).
Low on affectation and heavy on charm, the Blackpot Festival is a great way to avoid the Halloween hullabaloo. On a holiday that encourages us to be someone we are not, this festival is an oasis of authenticity.
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To learn more about the festival, visit blackpotfestival.com.