Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival 2015 – Info for Families

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival 2015 – Info for Families

2015 Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

Friday, April 10 - Sunday, April 12, 2015

Official Festival Grounds:  Ponchatoula's Memorial Park, but the Festival takes over all of downtown Ponchatoula.  

Official Website (Includes Entertainment Schedule)
Official Facebook Page ('Like' the Festival's page for updates over the weekend!)

Hours

Friday (Family Night): 12 noon - 10 pm  (Music, Beer, & all Food booths open at 5:30 pm)
Saturday: 9 am - 11 pm (Don't miss the parade at 9:30 a.m.)
Sunday: 12 noon  - 6 pm

Ride Tickets

Ride tickets are $1.00 a piece. Rides cost 2-5 tickets per ride. All rides tickets will be sold from a central location in the middle of the park, near the amusement rides.

ALL-YOU-CAN-RIDE: Pay-one-price Ride Armband available for $20 from noon - 4 pm on FRIDAY ONLY. Bracelet will only be valid during this Friday noon - 4 pm timeframe. 

You can purchase armbands on Friday, or as an additional option, pre-sale tickets for armbands will be sold on Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 9 from 12 pm - 4 pm on Strawberry Festival grounds (Memorial Park) in the Strawberry Festival Building. The tickets are non-refundable and can be exchanged for an armband on Friday, April 10, beginning at noon at any ticket booth. 

IMPORTANT - FOOD/DRINK SALES

Please pass on this info to others!
All of the booths on the official Strawberry Festival grounds are all operated by local non-profit organizations. The official grounds are located two blocks north of the main street in Ponchatoula and in Memorial Park.

Placards like the one in the photo below will be posted on the non-profit booths to distinguish them from the for-profit booths in town. Please support the non-profits! For many, this is their one fundraiser of the year. Keep your money local and support the local community! You will find a variety of delicious items (no two booths can sell the same dish!) and no food item is priced over $8.

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TRAFFIC & ROUTES INTO TOWN

The Festival is expected to bring over 300,000 visitors to the downtown Ponchatoula area. This increased traffic volume quickly overloads the surrounding interstate system causing dangerous backups from heavily congested off ramps and forcing intermittent closures of interstate exits. In an effort to improve the flow of traffic and ensure that everyone has a safe festival weekend, LA State Police Troop L urges motorists to follow the following alternate route advisories when entering and leaving the Ponchatoula area.

From Baton Rouge: Exit Interstate 12 Eastbound at Pumpkin Center exit #35, proceed south to LA 22, then continue east on LA 22 into Ponchatoula.

From Covington / Slidell: Exit Interstate 12 Westbound at LA 445 exit #47, proceed south to LA 22, then continue west on LA 22 into Ponchatoula.

From Mandeville: Take LA 22 west into Ponchatoula avoiding Interstate 12.

From New Orleans area: Exit Interstate 55 Northbound at Manchac exit #15, proceed north on U.S. 51 into Ponchatoula.

SAFETY

When you get to the grounds, show your kids the Festival staffers (They will be wearing yellow t-shirts on Friday night, and red and white gingham shirts on Saturday and Sunday) and also the uniformed Sheriff's deputies (they will be stationed as each corner of the main grounds, as well as on foot all over).

Children do get separated from their parents -- ahead of time, tell your children to go to one of the two band stages if they become separated from you, or to look for someone wearing the Festival uniform, or a policeman for help. 

If you are separated from your child, go to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office Command Post -  the marked bus located on Sixth Street at the southeast corner of the park.

Also, the Festival staff is asking all parents to please take a photo of your child when you leave the house or first arrive at the Festival to assist if your child is separated from you.

New This Year

  • All-You-Can Ride for $20 on Friday from noon - 4 pm (See above)
  • Louisiana Homemade Arts & Craft Booths will now be featured at the corner of 6th St. and on Hickory St. (In previous years, this area housed carnival games).  

TIPS FROM LOCALS

If you are attending the Strawberry Festival for the first time, here are some tips:

  • Make sure you see the whole Festival! Many people arrive and see the huge crowds in the main street in downtown Ponchatoula and think that is the Festival. Keep walking and follow the overhead banners to find the official Festival grounds, located two blocks north of Pine Street (Hwy 22). There you will find the two large band stages with non-stop music and the carnival rides, as well as the non-profit food and drink booths.
  • If you are going to ride the rides, a great time is Saturday morning at 9:30 am when everyone else in town is at the parade! Early Friday night or Sunday morning is also a good time for rides (when festival first opens). This year the festival will be opening early at noon on Friday and offering an all-you-can-ride bracelet for $20. This is valid from noon - 4 pm on Friday ONLY.
  • Friday night is 'Family Night' and traditionally has a smaller crowd than either Saturday or Sunday. 
  • Arrive early! Earlier than you think! And allow time for traffic (see above for the best routes). The Festival brings a HUGE crowd from out-of-town, and everyone needs to find a place to park. Arrive early, or wait until later in the day when people are heading home. There will be many places you can pay to park. In many cases, local businesses let volunteers of local organizations use their parking lots to raise money for a cause that will be indicated on the sign. Another great way to support the community!
  • Be prepared for mud! This week's rainy weather has left the grounds damp. The festival board does a good job creating pathways for foot traffic, but it is impossible to keep the entire area sludge-free. 
  • Smile, enjoy the beautiful town of Ponchatoula, the (hopefully!) shining sun, and the WORLD'S BEST STRAWBERRIES!

Some of the above information is courtesy of the official Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival Facebook page and Louisiana State Police  Troop L. Thank you for sharing!  

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