by Ana Pizzolio
The Thibodauxville Fall Festival Duck Race became a tradition that gathers thousands of people on the banks of Bayou Lafourche every year. 2,000 numbered ducks are dumped on the bayou at 4 p.m. to compete for cash prizes.
Tourists and locals alike cheer for their yellow rubber ducks as it races its way from the weir of Bayou Lafourche to the Jackson Street Bridge. The ticket holders of the first six ducks to cross the finish line are awarded with cash prizes.
After the race, volunteers retrieve the ducks, count it to make sure none is missing and store it for the next year’s race.
Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased as early as September with the sales continuing until the day of the event. This year, however, all 2,000 tickets were sold out at the very beginning of the festival.
Chairman of the Board of the Thibodaux Chamber of Commerce Marguerite Knight explains that the duck race is a fundraiser for both the Chamber of Commerce and Thibodaux Main Street.
The Thibodauxville Fall Festival is a free festival held annually at the second Saturday of November in Historic Downtown Thibodaux. Vendors booths and music stages take the streets from Highway 1 to West 4th Street and from Canal Blvd. to Jackson Street.
Other activities for the whole family include a 5k run/walk, a car show, continues live musical entertainment, arts, crafts and the best of southern cuisine are featured at the festival. Boutiques and restaurants in the route also take part in the event celebrations.
Music performances featured this year included local entertainment from Treeter, Foret Tradition and the Groove. Other addition to the festival this year included a 40 mile bike tour around the city’s outskirts and a “Duck Punch”, an adult beverage made with Thibodaux’s Donner-Peltier Distillery spirits.
“Thibodauxville was started to bring people downtown,” Knight says. “It was started in 1992, 24 year ago with 13 vendors. It now has expanded and this year, our biggest ever, has 113 vendors and 30 food booths, which had amazing food.”
Named after the previous name of the city, the Thibodauxville festival began as an initiative to create interest in the downtown district. The event gained national recognition after it was awarded the number one festival in the Southeastern United States in 2011 by the Southeast Tourism Society. Nowadays, the festival attracts over 15,000 people from all over the country.
“We couldn’t do it without 100 volunteers, all of the people, all of the vendors and specialty boutiques,” she adds. “Thibodauxville is great. If you weren’t here this year, make sure to come next year.”