Alexandria is located in Rapides Parish right in the heart of Louisiana. They’ve even taken that name to heart, adopting their central location as the city’s slogan, The Heart of Louisiana. Beyond being known for their important historical and cultural significance to Central Louisiana, the city is also well-known for their ability to put on a good time! We’ve gathered a list five things you need to do in Alexandria.
Little Walter Music Festival
The Little Walter Music Festival was started by the Little Walter Foundation and honors the famous blues player Marion “Little Walter” Jacobs. While he may be famous for his signature distorted harmonica sound he developed while in Chicago, Little Walter was born and raised in Rapides Parish! The Little Walter Music Festival honors his musical legacy in his own hometown every year.
The festival is free to attend and takes place during May each year. The event includes the Color Vibe 5K, delicious food from local restaurants and plenty of live music! Musical artists from previous years include Shemekia Copeland, Mr. Sipp the Mississippi Blues Child and Henry Gray as well as plenty of other local and global blues and rock artists! For more on the Little Walter Music Festival, check out their website.
Cenlabration started in the 1980s as a way to celebrate everything great about Alexandria. It’s now one of the largest festivals in Central Louisiana! Getting its name from the area (Cenla), Cenlabration is a huge annual event that reflects the Cenla culture and heritage. As far as festivals go, this one really puts the spotlight on local businesses!
Local artists in Rapides Parish come out and set up booths showcasing their arts and crafts to everyone who attends. There are three stages with live music, with bands playing everything from Zydeco to Blues to Rock. You can even hear the music as you ride any of the carnival rides that line the riverfront!
If you’re hungry, there is no shortage of food there. Restaurants and chefs from Alexandria come out and cook some delicious Cajun cuisine. Don’t forget to stay until the end; you don’t want to miss the large fireworks display! It’s quite a sight to see over the Red River!
The AlexRiverFete is another really big festival in Alexandria! While the name might sound strange, it’s actually a combination of Alexandria, the (Red) River and Fête, which is a French word meaning festival.
The Fête gets kicked off with Dinner on the Bricks, an event that showcases locally-owned restaurants’ and caterers’ menus. Then the large festival starts popping! During the weekend-long event in May, everyone gets to enjoy plenty of smaller Fêtes, and there’s something for everyone!
Head over to the Classic Car Fête if you’re really into retro wheels. Got an itch for local arts and crafts? Stop by the Art Fête! There’s even a Kids Fête with activities for your children!
Visit the Alexandria Museum of Art
Looking to get your art fix? Head over to the Alexandria Museum of Art (AMOA). The museum has plenty of pieces on display from prominent local artists and they regularly change out their exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see.
Beyond having art on display, the museum regularly puts on amazing community events! Their community art projects allow new and seasoned artists to work together to create public art installations. They also have an Illuminated Procession that brings the community together at night twice a year to light up the art walk with lanterns and luminaries of every shape and size! They normally have one in the spring and one in the fall.
They regularly host workshops that get families together to work on fun art projects, too. AMOA doesn’t stop there at fun community events—they also put on the annual Louisiana Dragon Boat Races during AlexRiverFete!
Louisiana Dragon Boat Races™
While a bunch of teams racing each other in dragon boats down in Louisiana may seem a little strange at first, the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races are actually an event that thousands of attendees look forward to every year! Yep, this AMOA event is one you don’t want to miss!
These races are an all-day event during AlexRiverFete. There are three rounds of fast-paced, exciting action, and the packed crowd is cheering for their favorite team! Each competing team takes their place right on the Red River in Alexandria, and there is a little smack talk, but it’s all in good fun! If you look closely, you can even see the dragon boat drummers dressed up for the occasion, wearing everything from sparkly tutus and war paint to full on character costumes like Joker from Batman.
In-between the races is the Kaminari Taiko Drummers Concert and the Drummer’s Style Show, which bring an extra splash of Japanese culture to the event! If you’re looking for something really fun to do in Alexandria, the dragon boat races are really a sight to see! Want to learn more about the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races? Read about them on the city of Alexandria’s website.
BONUS: Taste of Home Magazine’s Cooking School
Do you like cooking and want to take your kitchen skills to the next level? You definitely don’t want to miss out on this event! Taste of Home Magazine hosts a live cooking show in Alexandria every year. Culinary Specialists share their favorite cooking tips and tricks for the audience while demonstrating each recipe step-by-step.
Tickets for the event start at $12, making it a really affordable and fun event for anyone who enjoys cooking. You can find out more on the annual event here.
How many of these have you done? Let us know your favorite Alexandria event!