Sunday, March 7, 2010


The Great Gator Race is a street faire and festival-fundraiser for the Southern Mutual Health Association. A fun family event with food kiosks, a petting zoo, face painting and watching 5,000 numbered "alligators" make their way down river toward the finish line. People bet on their alligator and the winning entries receive prizes donated by local business people. A Caribbean Cruise was the first prize in this 7th annual race.

The band played...

...people danced, including kids later in the day.

 Everyone was decked out in their bows and beads. Dylan Lewis, below had a handsome snake painted on his neck. His family once lived in Susanville, CA. his mother Rene, told me. I admired their alligator beads and Grandma Gaby Butler promptly gave me hers.


Everyone was enjoying the fun while the Sheriff's Department with six trustees put together the floating finish line.


With the starting  help of the fire department's hoses, the alligators begin their journey from up river, a couple blocks away.


Each one is numbered. People buy a random numbered ticket and hope their entry wins one of the many prizes put up for the event. Most enjoyable was the commentator who called the race by the entrant's names: "...I see Hopping John, hopping to the side, oh, no! That's Banana Bunch, bunched up in the middle. Skinny Dipper is hiding in the back," and so on. He kept up a constant patter that kept us laughing. The names were such fun I was sure I'd remember some of the most outrageous, but alas. Humor is fleeting.

 The trustees load the alligators back in their tubs and the music, dancing, drinking and eating continue all day.
Timing your travels to catch a local event is hit and miss; catching the Gator Race turned out to be a fun, relaxing day. If you visit New Iberia,  the Shadows On The Teche house and museum is a must see.  We walked about town admiring some of the marvelous historic buildings to be found here. Friendly people are a staple in these small towns we've grown so fond of.

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