22nd annual SugarFest introduces juke joint exhibit
Musicians, artists and reenactors gathered with thousands of guests for the 22nd annual SugarFest, a sweet celebration of the sugarcane harvest, on Sunday, Oct. 1. This year performers took their music to the juke joint stage for the first time.
The juke joint stage is a new addition to the West Baton Rouge Museum that will be used for hosting concerts and will part of the museum’s permanent blues exhibit. The exhibit pays homage to local blues venues of the past on the West Side and in the Baton Rouge area.
Visitors at Sugar Fest mingled among antique cars, food trucks and booths set up by more than 50 local vendors and kiosks.
The museum offered visitors a free tour inside the museum to view Julie Stewart’s photography exhibit entitled “Raw Sugar: Harvest in Black and White” and “Water Trails of the Atchafalaya.”
The annual event in Port Allen celebrated the region’s historical connection to the sugarcane harvest and the staple Louisiana traditions that are associated with harvest.
Some of the demonstrations using sugarcane included mule driven cane grinding, cane syrup boiling, and praline making. Visitors were also able to see the 22 foot working model of a sugar mill that was first displayed at the 1904 World’s Fair in Saint Louis.
The West Baton Rouge Museum grounds were transformed into a bustling festival featuring tours and concerts by local legends. Despite the many activities and booths available on the museum grounds, visitors were spread evenly throughout the six acres.
Visitors, aged 21 and up, sipped on samples of liquor from Cane Land Distilling Company then took their two-step skills to the various bands that were playing. Local legend Lil’ Ray Neal ended the event with a blues performance at the juke joint