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Large festivals set to return as Louisiana drops COVID-19 restrictions

The further easing of restrictions could mean the return of larger festivals and gatherings.

CHALMETTE, La. — Throughout the year there are several hundred festivals in Louisiana of all sizes, but they all came to a very sudden halt about a year ago. Now, festivals are allowed once again due to the Phase 3 guidelines.

"Masks got to stay on but we still can have fun," said Cisco Gonzales, Vice President of the Louisiana Crawfish Festival Foundation.

After canceling at the last minute in 2020, the Louisiana Crawfish Festival is scheduled for April 29 - May 2 in St. Bernard Parish with 11 bands, 26 rides and 32 food vendors.

"A little challenge, we're ready for the challenge, we're ready to watch people smile, to watch people have some," Gonzales said.

Festivals and fairs can return under Phase 3 guidelines in Louisiana. Masks are required. There aren't strict capacity limitations, as long as there is enough space for six feet of social distancing.

"With the square feet we have and six feet around you, I'm thinking 14,000 people at a time," Gonzales said about how many people may be allowed in at once.

Gonzales said he'll be strict, especially considering his first hand experience battling COVID one year ago.

"I couldn’t do anything 64 days, double pneumonia, it was tough," he said.
Another quickly approaching festival is Hogs For the Cause. It's scheduled for June 4 - 5 in Belle Chasse.

"We always try to kick off festival season, but this is a new kickoff I'd say," Hall said. "People are ready to get festing. This event is going to sell out."

They will admit 5,000 people a day.

"We're normally about 30,000 so it's a big difference," Hall said.
He hopes the return of festivals will be a boost for charities that benefit from them.

"COVID is extremely important, but there are terminal kids out there we need to help and this festival allows us to do that," Hall said.

Later in Fall, more festivals are schedule to return including French Quarter Fest and Jazz and Heritage Festival.

While the governor has loosened restrictions, ultimately it's up to each parish.

Currently in New Orleans, festivals have a cap of 250 people, but the city is expected to update its guidelines soon.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.