After getting nixed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the fair returned in a big way.
The Fifth Annual Denham Springs Fair attracted thousands of people from Livingston Parish and beyond last weekend, allowing visitors a semblance of normalcy during a year when nothing felt normal.
For four days, carnival rides, concession stands, music stages, and game booths filled up South Park, giving visitors a variety of activities to enjoy in one of the first big public events since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The fair was made possible after Gov. John Bel Edwards loosened restrictions amid improving COVID-19 numbers last month. Prior to March, large-scale events were not allowed.
Tony Jarreau, owner of Jarreau Entertainment and organizer of the fair, wrote on social media that more than 20,000 people attended the fair, an example of just how badly people were itching to do something that felt normal. Jarreau didn’t announce the fair’s return until about two weeks before its date, but that didn’t stop people from coming in droves as news of the fair’s return spread far and wide across social media.
“I can’t believe how much support from our little community we had for the Denham Springs Fair this year,” Jarreau wrote Sunday night. “Over 20,000 people attended. Thank all of you so much! It feels so good to have a little normality again.”
The local fair started in 2016 and has been held every year at South Park. It attracted around 30,000 visitors in its first three years — including one year of 14,000 — but organizers had always hoped to reach 20,000.
This year, that goal was met: The fifth iteration of the fair drew the biggest crowds yet as people flocked to the Denham Springs park on a gorgeous weekend.
Visitors were treated to live music from Bag of Donuts (Friday, April 2) and Last Call (Saturday, April 3). At several points during his band’s rocking Friday night performance, Bag of Donuts lead vocalist Bobby Hoerner expressed thanks that restrictions were loosened, something the packed crowd cheered for at every mention.
“How many of you are glad for live music again?” Hoerner asked the screaming crowd.
Along with live music, visitors had their choice of thrilling rides, entertaining games, and scrumptious food from local vendors. There were also free photo opportunities with the Easter bunny on Saturday and Sunday.
The fair opened at 5 p.m. Thursday and officially closed at 7 p.m. Sunday. In between, long lines stretched from concession stands and rides as visitors of all ages eagerly waited their turn.
“That was so much fun,” one boy yelled after getting off the ferris wheel. “Which ride next?”