Denham Springs festival features art, music and more

Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- A flag waves in front of Heritage House antiques store at a past  Denham Springs Antique Village Spring Festival. Show caption
Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- A flag waves in front of Heritage House antiques store at a past Denham Springs Antique Village Spring Festival.

You can get a “ham dog” or a real dog. You can ride a ride or have your photo taken by the Duke boys’ ride. You can pick a craft or hear a crafty picker. It’s free, it’s all day in Denham Springs, it’s family friendly and it’s fun. It’s the annual Antique Village Spring Festival.

“If somebody wants to bring their kids out for a day of fun and not really have to pay to get in and pay to ride the rides, it’s the place to come,” said Kim Bye, festival coordinator.

A segment of Range Avenue from Florida Boulevard to Centerville Street will be blocked off to traffic and booths and displays will line the asphalt, Bye said. “We have over 150 vendors,” she said. “Range Avenue will close at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. People can start coming 8 a.m. if they want.”

They might want to get an early start. Most attractions are free (as is parking), but vendors will offer all sorts of wares and foodstuffs. “We just have every kind of vendor imaginable. All the stores will be open with sales going on, the antique stores and everything,” Bye said.

There will be music on three stages “with the big thing being Floyd Brown at 1:30 p.m.,” Bye said. “He’s our headliner.”

“We’ll have children’s clothing, antiques, jewelry, yard signs, mailboxes, sand art,” Bye said. If visitors work up an appetite with all that shopping, they can choose from a variety of offerings that fall into the culinary classification of festival foods, including something new.

“We have all the favorites: we have jambalaya; we have sausage po-boys; we have hamburgers, hot dogs; we have fried alligator; we have funnel cakes, nachos; and this year we have something new – I haven’t got a clue how it’s going to look, but it’s called a ‘ham dog,’ it’s a cross between a hamburger and a hot dog; we’ll have snowballs; we’ll have boiled peanuts; there’s Italian ice.”

Other attractions include pet adoptions sponsored by the Livingston Parish SPCA, photos with the General Lee car from the TV show Dukes of Hazzard, displays by the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Department that include the department’s helicopter and aquaduck vehicle and a motorcycle show.

“The sheriff’s department here usually has about eight or 10 of their rides. They usually have a big giant slide that they bring. They’re just out with the kids all day. They’re doing the motorcycle show so they can see all the motorcycles,” Bye said. “The sheriff’s department used to have their fun day, they were having it at the Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart said, for whatever purposes, ‘you can’t do that anymore.’ They got with us to see if they could just make their fun day in cooperation with our Spring Festival. So we said, ‘Absolutely, we’d love to have y’all come.’ So they come to both the Spring and Fall festivals with us.”

“All that is free. Rock climbing wall and the screamer and all kinds of things,” Bye said. “The fire department will be there with their smokehouse and displays all day.”

And more. “There’s going to be face painting, balloons – all your normal festival stuff.”

“It’s just a big day of fun,” she said. Bye said around 10,000 people are expected for the festival, if the weather is good. “We just have to pray for good weather. We canceled the festival twice. (for weather),” Bye said. “You have to protect the people.”

“We have a good day. We enjoy meeting all the people. We have vendors who have been coming for years; they know all the people. It’s a good day,” Bye said. It all closes down at 5 p.m.

“They have one hour before the street has to reopen at 6 p.m. You’d be surprised how quick we can clear the street.”