Fall Festival Season
Celebrations in full swing across Livingston
If you weren’t born and raised here, you may quip that Louisiana has a festival for everything, and it’s true—we love any reason to get together for a good time, but Livingston Parish, with its rich history of Hungarian and Creole culture and extraordinarily well-preserved Main Street, is exceptionally exuberant. Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate all the area’s gifts with a full schedule of fall festivals.
Albany, Louisiana, is home to the country’s largest rural settlement of Hungarians—still known today as Hungarian Settlement—and the roots of its annual Harvest Dance celebration date back to the days of royalty and harvest feasts in fifteenth century Hungary.
On the first Saturday in October each year, descendants of the original settlers gather to perform the harvest dance in full traditional garb and partake in Hungarian food and traditions. If you wander into the American Legion Hall in Springfield around 6 or 7 in the evening, you’ll find participants singing folk songs, eating cabbage rolls and Kolbasz (Hungarian sausage) and drinking homemade strawberry wine. Once the dance has concluded, onlookers leap up and pick bagged oranges, apples, and grapes from an overhead canopy as part of a longstanding custom from Old Hungary.
“Come and enjoy the different culture, the food, and the fun,” says organizer Vikki Mocsary, whose great-grandfather, Adam Mocsary, was one of the three founders of the settlement.
The Hungarian Settlement, first known as Árpádhon (meaning home, or place of Árpád—the founder of Hungary) was established in present-day Albany in 1896 by three immigrant farmers. By the mid-1930s, there were 200 Hungarian families in Louisiana, growing strawberries and bringing the harvest dance tradition along with them. Along with the dance at Legion Hall, you can visit the Hungarian Settlement Museum, located inside an old schoolhouse along Highway 43.
October is the month to honor and celebrate settlers—in Livingston, at least. The French Settlement Creole Festival, held on the third Sunday in October each year, features all the fixins’ of a good fest: live music and performances, dancing, and plenty of food. Now in its forty-second year, the Creole Festival is sponsored by the French Settlement Historical Society and attendees can learn about the area’s French pioneers through folklife demonstrations, and the museum’s period artifacts.
The annual Fall Fest, put on by the Denham Springs Merchants Association, is held in the town’s Antique Village. Over 165 vendors pack the downtown streets to serve bustling crowds of shoppers. “Everybody works really hard to come together and make it a success,” says Donna Jennings, the Main Street Manager for Denham Springs. “We all work toward the good of the village.”