Ahoy mate! I'm a pirate of southwest Louisiana. Long ago my crew and I sailed through the lakes and bayous of Louisiana. Now the people of Louisiana get together to celebrate the historic event. We call this event Contraband Days!
Legend has it that long ago the Pirate Jean LaFitte and his crew buried their treasure on the Barataria Bay which is somewhere near New Orleans. Then they fled westward from the long arm of the law. After loading their ship the pirates stopped at Charley's Lake which is now Lake Charles. Supposedly Lafitte's "contraband" is buried somewhere along the shore of Charley's Lake.
Contraband Days is now one of the largest festivals in the state of Louisiana. The first Contraband Days was held in 1958. At this time the festival was only a one day festival with some water events. Now Contraband Days is in it's forty-fifth year and has expanded to a twelve-day festival with almost 100 events.
The festival begins when the pirates invade the city and make the mayor "walk the plank". The pirates then declare "Pirate Rule" for the city and the festival begins. The highlights of Contraband Days include a street parade and a lighted boat parade. There are many sporting tournaments such as a ladies golf tournament, tennis tournament, Tour Lafitte Bike Ride, beach volleyball tourney, US Unwired 5 Mile Run, sailboat regatta, and a fishing tournament. They even have an arm wrestling competition.
For those who enjoy drama, there are two stage shows which include a Kid's World Stage Show and a Tom Sawyer Theatre Show. These presentations include local talent.
No festival is complete without a carnival. The Matt Armstrong Carnival includes all kinds of fun rides as well as a climbing rock wall, the quad power jump, and an ejection seat. Just like any other festival, there are lots of contests. There is a state choir contest and a Spitting Image Contest, but that's not even close to being all. There is a pirate costume contest, a celebrity crawfish race, an egg drop contest, a lumberjack competition, and a sink-o de mayo contest.
For the avid collectors, there are two different displays. They are the classic car show and the card, comic, and collectible show.
Other miscellaneous events include the Jean Lafitte Buccaneer Landing (where the city mayor is thrown into Charley's Lake and Jean Lafitte takes over the city), a cajun day's dance, a fireworks display, a petting zoo, a teen street dance, souvenir booths, and water wars.
No festival in Louisiana would be complete without good cajun food. You can find anything from crawfish ettoufe to fried alligator at the food court called "Galley Alley." The festival ends when Jean Lafitte and his rowdy buccaneers leave the city and sail off into the horizon. The city is then left to clean up the mess after twelve wonderful days of fun and festivity!!!!