Old Arabi celebrates 9th Sugar Fest on October 14

Lindsey Tassin of Cypress Pop Trio and Arabi resident Amanda Hotard enjoy the festive fun at the Old Arabi Aycock Barn.

The 9th annual Old Arabi Sugar Fest will take place on Saturday, October 14, from noon until 7:00 p.m. at the Aycock Barn, 409 Aycock Street.

Like most festivals, music, food, and art will be featured, but the Sugar Fest offers several things that make it unique. For instance, Sugar Fest guests also have the opportunity to tour the area thanks to the St. Bernard Office of Tourism. These narrated tours by Parish Historian Bill Hyland highlight some of the history and artistic advancements in the area over the years. Highlights include the Sugar Museum, the riverfront, and the newly opened Planetarium, as well as information about Domino Sugar, which has been operating in the area for over 100 years.

Faith Moran, a Sugar Fest Committee member, said celebrating the history of sugar was how this local celebration first began.

“The Sugar Fest started in 2009 as a ‘Happy Birthday’ to Domino Sugar,” Moran said. “It has grown bigger and better ever since. It’s the longest ‘Birthday Party’ ever and still going strong!”

Another unique feature of the Sugar Festival is the annual baking contest, where bakers and dessert makers compete for prizes and bragging rights. The challenge is simple – create the best tasting dessert and bring it to the festival grounds by 1 p.m. so that the judges, ladies from the St. Bernard Business and Professional Women’s Club, can select the winner of this sweet competition.

The annual Donut Eating Contest is another event unique to the Sugar Fest. Sponsored by Gerald’s Donuts, the event allows guests of all ages to take part in this fast and fun feeding frenzy.

Ray Lauga, who heads the Sugar Fest Committee each year, said the event truly celebrates the history and culture of Old Arabi, and is excited by the music lineup. Old Arabi resident and musical stalwart Irene Sage headlines the event, with Cypress Pop Trio, the Yat Pack, and Dave Ferrato also performing. There will be music and performances by students from Arabi Elementary and Chalmette High School as well.

Admission is free and open to the public, and includes children’s activities as well as some complimentary goodie bags, courtesy of one of the major sponsors of the event, Domino Sugar. Also joining the Old Arabi Neighborhood Association as sponsors are the Meraux Foundation, Meyers Warehouse, Pirogue’s Whiskey Bayou, Fradella’s Collision Center, Ditto’s Printing & Copy Center, Old Arabi Bar, LaGraize Builders, Barrios Real Estate Group, Title Corp of Louisiana, and the St. Bernard Tourist Commission.

Jenifer Heintz, a Sugar Fest committee member, encourages everyone to come enjoy the food and the fun at the fall fest.

“It’s a quaint, unique festival with great music, delicious bites, fall crafts and activities for everyone in the family, “ she said. “There is a whole lot of fun squeezed into a one day event that’s a hop, skip and a jump from downtown New Orleans.”

All proceeds benefit the Old Arabi Neighborhood Association for beautification projects and for historical and cultural preservation. Food vendors and artists interested in participating, or for more information, visit oldarabi.org or call 277.4242.

Now in its 9th year, the Old Arabi Sugar Fest is a unique event, celebrating the history and culture of the area – and sugar!

Sugar Fest Committee Chairman Ray Lauga (right) poses with his neighbor John Jackson in celebrating Arabi.