Folk Fest named top tourism event


The Southeast Tourism Society has named the 38th annual Natchitoches-Northwestern State University Folk Festival one of the STS Top 20 Event in the Southeast for July 2017.  This year’s Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival will be July 14-15. The STS Top 20 Festival and Event Awards have highlighted programs around the Southeast since 1985.

Travel industry experts select 20 events per month, and STS publicizes them throughout the United States. The complete list is published on two websites: and Travel Media Press Room, according to Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the Louisiana Folklife Center.

“The 2017 Festival theme “Keeping Tradition Alive!” celebrates the ways in which so many outstanding artists young and old are tapping into the power and artistry of the old ways, revitalizing and reimagining tradition as they make it their own,” Rasmussen said.  “As the artists taking part in the 2017 Festival demonstrate, Louisiana folk culture is vibrant and diverse.”

The folk music of many culture groups will be featured, with Cajun music by Ray Abshire and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, French Creole la la music by Goldman Thibodeaux and the Lawtell Playboys, Zydeco by Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie and Gerard Delafose and the Zydeco Gators, traditional Delta tunes by the Back Porch Band, bluegrass by the Clancey Ferguson Band, Texas swing by the Caddo Creek Band, and blues by Hezekiah and the Houserockers, the Wayne “Blue” Burns Band and Ed Huey.

Saturday’s activities include three stages of live music, Cajun dance lessons, dancing, narrative sessions, KidFest, a Cajun accordion workshop, and traditional crafts. Outside demonstrations include blacksmithing, working cattle dogs and horseshoeing. Traditional crafts such as wood carving, Czech Pysanky eggs, Spanish moss dolls, pine needle baskets and handmade furniture will be exhibited on Saturday only, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Prather Coliseum.

The 38th Annual Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival is supported in part by grants and donations from the Cane River National Heritage Area, the City of Natchitoches, the Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative of the National Park Service, Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, Inc. and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council.

For more information about the Festival or the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship, contact the Louisiana Folklife Center at or (318) 357-4332. For more information about Natchitoches, contact the Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 259-1714.

“The Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Festival and Event list is an excellent guide for the Southeast’s visitors, residents and travel writers.  The events selected represent the best, and often most unique, activities in our region,” said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society.

Events considered for the STS Top 20 recognition must be at least three years old and have attendance of at least 1,000. Nomination forms and deadlines are available at or by calling (770) 542-1523.

STS, founded in 1983 and headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting tourism to and within 12 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.