The best part of the year is here at last.

Yes, it’s football season. And that is part of the best part of the year.

Yes, it’s fall – though no one has shared that information with Mother Nature just yet. We’re still seeing hurricanes and uncomfortably high temperatures. But the moderate autumn weather will be here, if only briefly, soon enough.

But what makes this part of the year truly fantastic is all the fairs and festivals that dot the calendar throughout the fall.

In recent weeks, downtown Houma alone has seen a number of incredible bands perform for the public, many of them at no charge. Even the festivals that charged a small fee to enter offered more than enough entertainment to justify the cost.

And there are more just around the corner.

This weekend, our area boasts two big ones.

The Voice of the Wetlands Festival has been moved by recent rainy weather from its planned place off La. 24 to downtown Houma. It runs today through Sunday. To get everything you need, check out voiceofthewetlands.org.

And the Louisiana Gumbo Festival also runs today through Sunday at the Chackbay Fairgrounds, 326 La. 304, Chackbay. For all the particulars, go to lagumbofest.com.

Each one features all the best food, drinks, family fun and an awesome music lineup. And, incredibly, both of these are free to the public.

This weekend isn’t the only one with festivals. There are plenty throughout the year. But the fall is particularly blessed with great gatherings throughout south Louisiana. And our area is blessed as richly as any other, perhaps more so.

If for some reason you haven’t made a visit to either of these great happenings, make it your mission this weekend to visit.

The musical attractions alone are enough to get the fun-loving toe-tappers out to line up in front of stages – on the dance floors or in their folding chairs.

In Chackbay, the highlight of the weekend is the parade, which kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Sunday and runs along La. 304. And then there’s the gumbo. But I don’t have to tell you that the Louisiana Gumbo Festival is a good place to find that, do I?

In Houma, the festival’s musical plan hits a high note each night. From 10-11 p.m. tonight, The Friday Night Guitar Fights will feature some of the best pickers. From 8:30-10 p.m. Saturday, Tab Benoit will take the stage. And from 8:45-10 p.m. Sunday, Louisiana’s Leroux will share the stage with Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie fame.

I might not be able to hear my phone ringing this weekend because of the speakers and commotion. But if you need me, just check out one of these local festivals.

This is the time of year for them, after all. We’ll hope for cool, dry weather and great sounds for the coming days.

 

Editorial Page Editor Michael Gorman can be reached at 448-7612 or by e-mail at mike.gorman@dailycomet.com.