We made a quick run up to the garden spot of Tangipahoa Parish: Ponchatoula,for the 44th edition of the Strawberry Festival this past weekend. It was beautiful.

Abby Earles, Louisiana Queen Of Queens

Abby Earles, Louisiana Queen Of Queens

Rolling into town we immediately notice groups of locals frantically waving flashlights and placards in an effort to coax attendees into parking in their driveways and side yards. $10 per car.

Bea's French Bakery In Ponchatoula

Bea’s French Bakery In Ponchatoula

Big city pricing.

Abandoned Building In Ponchatoula

Abandoned Building In Ponchatoula

We’re flat starving so we race into the first storefront we spy. Bea’s French Bakery is right on the main drag; unfortunately the display cases are almost wiped out. We manage to snag a strawberry lemonade cupcake and begin to promenade down the sidewalk to see what the locals are up to in these parts.

Abby Earles Is The Queen Of Queens

Abby Earles Is The Queen Of Queens

Selling stuff, mainly strawberries.

Old Foks Hanging Out In Ponchatoula

Old Foks Hanging Out In Ponchatoula

Squalls are heading into the area so we quick march our way through the party, stopping occasionally to wolf down fried catfish po boys, cracklins, biscuits, and all manners of strawberry ephemera.

Ponchatoula Cracklins

Ponchatoula Cracklins

The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival is enormous. A kindly local explains that it’s the 2nd largest festival in Louisiana right behind New Orleans Jazz Fest. The grounds go on and on, swallowing up city streets, small parks, lawns, avenues and roadways. If you wanted to do it right you’d have to allot an entire day.

An Itinerant Fry Cook In Ponchatoula

An Itinerant Fry Cook In Ponchatoula

We’re swept along with all the camaraderie from the friendly country people but then out of the blue a beauty comes strolling down a dirt path wearing a giant strawberry tiara. It’s Abby Earles, the 2015 Ponchatoula Strawberry Queen. We immediately beg for an impromptu photo shoot and the queen acquiesces to her subjects. Ms Earles informs us that not only is she the Strawberry Queen but she’s also Louisiana’s Queen Of Queens.

Ponchatoula Strawberries

Ponchatoula Strawberries

Earles recently competed against all the Queens of the great state of Louisiana and when the dust had settled she emerged with the title Queen Of Queens.

Abby Earles

Abby Earles

That means she beat the Andouille Queen, the Jambalaya Queen, The Gumbo Queen and a host of other queens of certain pulchritude.

Cute Li'l Donkey

Cute Li’l Donkey

We’ve said it before and it bears mentioning again. The most beautiful women in all of USA live right here in Louisiana.

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

We say our goodbyes to Ms Earles and wish her further success.DSC02691

At this point we realize the party has met its peak. We continue meandering along, buy some Mayhaw jam from a nice elderly lady, circuit our way through the freak shows (World’s Largest Display Of 2 Headed Turtles!)and slowly make our way back to the Econoline.

Freak Show In Ponchatoula

Freak Show In Ponchatoula

There is nothing we’d rather do than drive out of New Orleans to little country towns on the prairies and bayous of Louisiana.

Crawfish Boil In Ponchatoula

Crawfish Boil In Ponchatoula

The townfolk are always so nice and the food is invariably fried and salted with the kind of rural abandon that you just don’t find in the big city.DSC02751

  1. Can u tell me who makes these cracklins on the pic above I had bought some and they are very good and I want to find out where I can get some more

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