Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals presents
Festival of the Year
About the Patterson Cypress Sawmill Festival
The Patterson Cypress Sawmill Festival is an annual event held the first weekend of April at Kemper Williams Park in Patterson, LA, with attendance estimated at about 35,000 for a three-day event. The festival is truly a family oriented and community event. It consists of a midway with amusement rides and games, arts and crafts show, car show, poker run, fun walk, gumbo cook-off, softball tournament, fishing tournament, golf tournament, petting zoo, old engine display, RV camping, lumber jack show, musical entertainment, passe partout contest, and much more. The proceeds from the festival go to the building fund for the new Louisiana State Museum-Patterson. The museum and construction began in February 2004 and opened for business December 2005. The Museum features Wendell Williams Aviation Collection and the Cypress Sawmill Collection.
Patterson Cypress Sawmill Festival History
In 1990, David Bourdier founded the Patterson Cypress Sawmill Festival to raise money to help build a museum. The first festival was held in 1991 at Kemper Williams Park. Carol Vinning, Frank Guarisco, Charles Campbell, Derrick Jennings, C.C. Stewart, and Greg Price were the first festival volunteers.
many problems associated with this site such as no electrical power
and water. Cleco installed light poles and a transformer on their
main power line.
the weather was so cold and windy, it blew down the Arts and Crafts
In 1995, Cleco donated and installed underground wiring for the festival. The cost of the job was $25,000. This donation made the park useable for other functions as well.
The festival has grown over the years to be one of the Top Twenty Events in the Southern Tourism Society. The festival has won many awards and honors over the years including Festival of the Year and a marketing award for its "Wooden Koozies". Holding the festival at Kemper Williams Park has resulted in the park being awarded many grants to expand.
The dream of opening a cypress sawmill museum took a giant step in 2003 when the Board of Directors of the Wedell-Williams Memorial Foundation joined hands with the Cypress Sawmill Foundation to build a single edifice with separate galleries to preserve the history of both the aviation and sawmill industries of Patterson. This was great news for festival-goers in 2006 as a tour of the Wedell-Williams Aviation & Cypress Sawmill Museum became a major added attraction to the many festivals activities.
The Board of Directors take pride in their family-oriented festival and will continue to work on upgrading and promoting the festival in order to support the museum, which is filled with memories that preserve the history of cypress and aviation in Louisiana, as well as to sponsor educational exhibits and programs throughout the year.
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