State hosts wide array of spring festivals

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ravelers can get a taste of pirates, peaches and crawfish at a series of festivals across the state this spring and summer.

In the southwest part of the state, near the Gulf of Mexico and not far from the Texas border, is Lake Charles, a city that overlooks a freshwater lake with a white-sand inland beach.

Lake Charles is the home of Contraband Days, a festival that celebrates the lore of pirates in the Gulf of Mexico.

This year, held April 30 to May 12, the event spotlights the life of Jean Lafitte, the French pirate who became an American hero by helping the Yanks in the War of 1812 against the British.

In addition, the festival will feature live music, Cajun cuisine, carnival rides, a lighted boat parade and fireworks.

Information about accommodations, tickets or transportation is available from the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 456-SWLA (456-7952) or from the Web site at www.visitlakecharles.org.

Another fete in Louisiana this spring is the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, slated for May 3 to 5 in Breaux Bridge, which is known to residents as the "heart of Cajun Country."

The three-day event will feature 38 Cajun and zydeco bands on three stages, crawfish cuisine in great variety and all manner of carnival happenings, such as contests and a parade.

For more information, log onto the Web site at www.bbcrawfest.com or call (337) 332-6655.

June 13 to 15 are the dates for the CenturyTel Louisiana Peach Festival in Ruston, a festival that celebrates peach season in northern Louisiana. This year, the festival celebrates its 52nd anniversary.

Ruston is a small town (population 22,000) located in the north-central part of the state, about 80 miles east of Shreveport and 35 miles from the Arkansas border to the north.

More information is available at www.rustonlincoln.org.

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