2016 Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival
Friday, April 8 - Sunday, April 10, 2016
Official Festival Grounds: Ponchatoula's Memorial Park, but the Festival takes over all of downtown Ponchatoula.
Friday: 12 noon - 10:30 pm (Music, Beer, & all Food booths open at 5 pm)
Saturday: 9 am - 11 pm (Don't miss the parade at 9:30 a.m.)
Sunday: 12 noon - 6 pm
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.
Save a few bucks on Friday night - rides will not cost as many tickets.
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.
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: Take the Causeway Bridge into Mandeville and proceed to LA 22 west into Ponchatoula.
When you get to the grounds, show your kids the Festival staffers (They will be wearing light blue t-shirts on Friday night; and red and white gingham shirts with denim vests on Saturday; and maroon shirts on 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.
The following are NOT ALLOWED at the Festival:
Glass, aluminum cans/bottles, pets, umbrellas, tents, ice chests, backpacks, and weapons of any kind.
Shoes and Shirts are required.
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).
- Friday night traditionally has a smaller crowd than either Saturday or Sunday. Also, this year - rides do not require as many tickets on Friday.
- 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!
- Smile, enjoy the beautiful town of Ponchatoula, the (hopefully!) shining sun, and the WORLD'S BEST STRAWBERRIES!
Be sure to follow TangiFamilies on Facebook for all the info on local family fun in Tangipahoa Parish!