Feed Your Soul at One of Louisiana’s Oldest Festivals

Gonzales, Louisiana - known as the Jambalaya Capital of the World - has been home to the Jambalaya Festival since 1968!

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The official Explore Louisiana blogging team.
Cookoff photo from the 1986 Jambalaya Festival in Gonzales Louisiana

A classic cook-off photo from the Jambalaya Festival in Gonzales Louisiana

Main Stage at the Jambalaya Festival, Gonzales Louisiana.

The Main Stage at the Jambalaya Festival has always featured the best Louisiana music.

Carnival Rides at the Jambalaya Festival

Carnival rides at the Jambalaya Festival make the festival fun for everyone.

Winner of the 1986 Jambalaya Festival

Winners of the Jambalaya Festival Cook-off have been named for over 50 years.

The Jambalaya Festival in Gonzales, traditionally held each May, is full of live music, fun for the whole family and of course delicious food!


On June 10, 1968, John J. McKeithen, then Governor of Louisiana, proclaimed Gonzales as the "Jambalaya Capital of the World." In mid-June of 1968, the first festival was held, with only thirteen cooks vying to be crowned "World Jambalaya Cooking Champion.” By 1971, the festival was drawing crowds of nearly 50,000, and in 1972, the "Mini Pot" jambalaya cooking contest was introduced. The dish was cooked in the "World's Smallest Jambalaya Pot," a tradition which continues to this day that even the kiddos can participate in!


The festival kicks off with dozens of cooks in the running for the Jambalaya Champion. This traditional cook-off takes place over open, wood burning flames. So, if you’re looking for the most authentic plate of jambalaya, you are sure to find it here. Take a stroll through the cooking area to chat with the chefs as they tend to their pots and maybe even pick up a few tips and tricks to try at home.


Alongside the tasty jambalaya, the festival serves up a carnival with a variety of rides, a pageant and a car show - where you can view some classic cars and the most unique mini bikes. And with plenty of live music performances on multiple stages throughout the festival, you are sure to find a tune that will get your feet tappin’ and maybe even circle the dance floor a time or two. 


This one-of-a-kind festival is sure to #FeedYourSoul in a way #OnlyLouisiana can.


Visit Louisiana's Sweet Spot - Ascension Parish for more trip ideas.