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Patterson Cypress Sawmill Festival 2012

What is the Patterson Cypress Sawmill Festival?
The Patterson Cypress Sawmill Festival is a family event that is held each year during the first weekend of April. There is live music to enjoy, a cypress sawmill display, two-person saw contest and several tournaments to compete in. No Louisiana festival would be complete without Cajun food, and you can enjoy a Cajun cook-off that combines a blend of delicious ingredients to make gumbo. All funds collected from the event go toward the Louisiana State Museum to preserve and protect the exhibits contained in the museum.

Things to do at the Sawmill Festival
Held at Kemper Williams Park in Patterson Louisiana, there are approximately 35,000 people that come out to the festival each year. Lasting for three days, the Patterson Cypress Sawmill Festival is jam-packed with family-friendly activities that everyone will enjoy. Kids will love the rides and games, petting zoo and arts and crafts, while the adults will enjoy playing poker, checking out the auto show and participating in a softball tournament.

With continuous music, a gumbo cook-off, lumberjack show and golf tournament, you can keep busy throughout the entire weekend while giving back to the community and the conservation of the museum. If this sounds too good to be true, you won’t be surprised to learn that the Patterson Cypress Sawmill Festival was voted Festival of the Year – Division I in 2003 and 2006 and Festival of the Year – Division II in 2007 and 2008.

History of the Sawmill Festival
This annual festival has been held each year since 1991, when the first festival was held by David Bourdier to fund the construction of a museum. There were a number of volunteers, and the festival took place at Kemper Williams Park, but the site hadn’t been perfected for this type of event yet. The main drawbacks were that there was no electricity and no running water, giving the park many limitations.

Fortunately, the idea of having this festival remained a long-term goal for the Board, so volunteers continued to offer their time and money to set up light poles, provide floodlights and wire the booths. This help enabled the festival to run, but in 1993, heavy winds knocked down the tents and cancelled the event for that weekend.

The festival was not cancelled for long however, as the Board insisted it was held the following weekend. The determination of everyone involved and the funds received from St. Mary Parish proved to residents that a family-oriented festival was in order for the community.

Sawmill Festival Today
The rest they say, is history. The festival has continued to grow over the years and is now regarded as one of the Top Twenty Events in Southern Tourism Society. The festival has received many awards and honors, and thanks to the growth and expansion, the Patterson Cypress Sawmill Festival has continued to receive grants, allowing for more activities and fun.

More importantly, the funds from the festival have been used for a variety of museum-related costs that has enabled the community to preserve the aviation and sawmill industries of Patterson. With a direct benefit to the local community, it’s no surprise that the Board of Directors continues to upgrade this festival and reach new heights for its tens of thousands of festival goers.

Image: cypresssawmill.com

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