World of Wooden Boats…the Festival in Madisonville, LA


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Welcome to Madisonville!

Here in this oak lined, slow-paced city in Louisiana is where the annual Wooden Boat Festival is hosted yearly in early Autumn.  Although I am a native of Louisiana and have spent a better part of my adult life here, I have only just this weekend had the pleasure of making it to the festival.  In my defense, this IS hurricane season; and past thoughts of attending were thwarted by the appearance of sudden storms, cold fronts and any number of “child emergencies”, including, but not limited to, school functions.  Now that my husband and I are on our own again, we are finding many things to experience that we never were able to before; and those that we did were often just a muddled memory of hustle and bustle, water bottles, baby bottles, cheerio containers, strollers and…well, you know what I mean.  We love our children and have done many events with them but it was indeed a different experience. How I miss those little faces….

Ah..well, back to this year’s event.

We headed out early to afford a better spot to park.  We were fortunate to find a pay to park grassy lot, just outside the entrance for $5 and had just a short hike to reach the gate.  On the way I couldn’t help noticing the signs of all my favorite reasons to love this season, not the least being Halloween and Thanksgiving.

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I have to say that this year my husband outdid himself, finding the best pumpkin ever; and I will find it difficult to carve it. I still haven’t decided as it sits on my dining room table, whispering my name…

The entry fee for the festival is $10 per person unless you are over 65 which then makes it half price. Finally a reason for my husband to smile gleefully as he hands over his meager $5 while I still have to pay max amount.  A reason to be happy about being a senior and worn out, he always says.

The river banks of the Tchefuncte are lined with booths and wooden boats, all showing their pride and talents; and soon the smells were tempting our tummies.  We chose save our hunger for a bit later on, however wonderful the thought might have been to indulge in the myriad of choices.  Barbecue, beer, chicken on a stick, beer, ice cream, beer, funnel cakes, beer.  Oh, and did I mention beer. And other liquid delights as well-mixed drinks and a daiquiri booth were ready and waiting.

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Paddle anyone?

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We can only assume why they may be so fat. In fact,  we never saw them . It appears they had their ladies holding the fort down while they were elsewhere…getting fatter perhaps?

First stop took us into the Voodoo bar for a Bloody Mary.  It seems we gave them a jump start with our request and, even though they weren’t officially “open” yet, the bartender happily made us a round of very tasty and effective drinks.  Folks in Louisiana are very accommodating when it comes to liquor.  Their mascot kept us company while we waited.

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They called him Six Pack. Weighing in at over 22 pounds, we could only imagine how he got the name…

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Abita coffee house and restaurant, nestled across the street from the river.

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While the others wandered the booths, I slipped over to the river bank for a quick shot of the boats.  We found out later that today was the day of the big wooden boat race, complete with the handmade boats that were being built yesterday.  I would have enjoyed seeing that. Maybe next year!

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Busy boat builders….build boats baking in the broiling sun with Bud Light. 🙂

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These looked very promising.

Next stop, the boat museum where they have, well, what museums have.  Little villages depicting rural life on the river “back in the day”, a reproduction of the civil war submarine that was retrieved from the river, and a life-sized diorama of the river, complete with gaping stuffed alligator. Oh-and air conditioning.  On the way we passed the vintage auto show which caught my husband’s eye. There was more than one model he either owned or worked on over the years.  He does love his cars….

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And as he would ask me….what year is this Chevy?

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The line-up

We saw so many much beloved boats with stories and histories, many you could just feel the love that went into building and maintaining them.

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We were getting hungry so time to stop into Morton’s for some food.  I wish I had actual photos of the food but we hit it running and it was quite crowded so not much time for indoor photography.  My friend was disappointed that his much beloved restaurant had burned down recently. It was called Friends and had a great place to sit outdoors and watch the river scene while enjoying food and drinks.  Here’s to you Friends!

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Morton’s, where we had yummy seafood and beer.

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Here are a few photos of our walk down the river to see the boats.

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Complete with wooden lifeboat.  Beautiful skiff.

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Some guys really know how to spend an afternoon…..

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While others know how to put on a show!

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We were enthralled with this apparatus. I know four young men who would love a chance at this act.

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then down he goes….

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It was getting late and hotter by the minute so we headed back to our vehicles to make our way home. Now, there are bands and the party goes on into the night; but none of us “oldsters” were up for any night driving after drinking and walking in the heat. Maybe next year we will start out a bit later…

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Oh! And I rather liked this shot of the Fresnel light that once adorned a Lighthouse. Louisiana had/has many lighthouses and they are also displayed in miniature in one of the many museum exhibits.

So…goodbye Tchefuncte, Madisonville and the Wooden Boat Festival! Until next year…

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We hope you are having a glorious weekend.

Pura Vida.

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