The Firemen’s Fair has grown to attract people from all across Louisiana and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Thibodaux’s Volunteer Fire Department each year.
In 1883, the first Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair was held, raising almost $250 for the Thibodaux Volunteer Fire Department, the only fire department in the parish. Since its inception, Thibodaux’s Fire Department has depended upon the money raised at the Firemen’s Fair for a significant portion of its annual budget. It’s because of this great event that the volunteer fire department can maintain its operations across the parish.
The Thibodaux Firemen’s Parade is part of our annual celebration and plays a big role in our fundraising efforts. The parade, which is always held on Sunday, is one of the main events on the biggest day of the fair, meaning there are always crowds of people lining the streets.
The earliest known account of a parade reported in the Thibodaux Sentinel was in 1866. However, in 1869, the Thibodaux Sentinel reported that Thibodaux Fire Co. No. 1 was celebrating its eighth anniversary although the company was formed in 1858. From these facts, a conclusion is drawn that the company was celebrating its anniversary for the eighth time, excluding three years missed during the Civil War. Evidence of non-activity during this period is found in the October 28, 1865 edition of the Thibodaux Sentinel.
The April 25, 1874 edition of the Thibodaux Sentinel headlines read, “The fifteenth annual parade of the Firemen of Thibodaux”. Had the firemen paraded every year with out interruption they would have started in 1860, but based on the fact that three years were missed during the Civil War, the conclusion can be drawn that the firemen of Thibodaux have been holding parades at least since 1857.
In the early years, firemen with their equipment would parade around town as friends and relatives viewed the procession. The parade was always led by the Grand Marshal. As firemen passed the home of the Grand Marshal, they were given refreshments. After the parade, the firemen held a social with their friends and relatives. Current day Grand Marshals continue the practice of hosting a social or reception after the parade for firemen along with friends, relatives and supporters of the fire department.
The Thibodaux Firemen’s Parade is not a Mardi Gras parade. The firemen do not throw doubloons or beads although some of the kids that ride on the floats may throw some items. The parade is a time for the fire department to display all of its equipment and man power to the people we serve. The parade also allows surrounding departments to show off their equipment as well. The parade will feature fire trucks and equipment, plenty of them. At times, there will be sirens wailing and horns blowing although we try to keep this minimum to control noise levels. The parade is a time for family and friends to gather along the parade route and show their appreciation to members of the department who volunteer their time to protect their lives and property in times of need.
Today, more than 130 years later, the fair and its accompanying parade has grown into a favorite event for families across south Louisiana, attracting more than 50,000 people each year and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the local fire department. So slide on down to Thibodaux and become a part of the tradition that is spreading like wildfire. Our hardworking firefighters will thank you for it.
When & where is the fair taking place?
The Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair will be held annually Thursday – Sunday on the weekend of the first Sunday in May at the fire department’s fairgrounds at 1101 Tiger Drive in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Is there an admission fee?
No. Admission to our fair is entirely free!
What are the fair hours?
Friday: 5pm to 12:30am
Saturday: 11am to 12:30am
Sunday: 11am to 9pm
Where can I park?
Due to high attendance levels, there are several areas recommended for parking:
Handicapped parking is also available along Tiger Drive next to the fairgrounds.
What happens if it rains?
If we experience inclement weather the weekend of the fair, we will have as much of the fairground covered as we can to keep everyone dry. We want you to enjoy yourselves, and a little rain should never stop us from havin’ some fun!
Will food & drinks be provided?
Of course! There will be dozens of food and drink choices available for purchase, from authentic Cajun dishes and traditional fair foods to our deliciously famous Firemen’s Fair burger. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be served.
Is this event family-friendly?
Absolutely, we want everyone to enjoy our fair. Come with friends, your spouse, or the whole family—there’s something here for everyone!
This is a fundraising event. Where does the money go?
Any and all proceeds go to Thibodaux’s Volunteer Fire Department to support the selfless men and women who volunteer their time to keep our parish safe. Fair revenue makes up 40% of the department’s annual budget, and that money is used throughout the year for a variety of purposes, including:
Will security be provided?
Yes — this is a very safe event. Security will be provided by local police departments, who collaborate to guarantee a secure environment where everyone can focus on enjoying themselves. In addition, the fairgrounds will also be fenced in.
What else is there to do in Thibodaux?
The Firemen’s Fair is just one of many things you can enjoy during your stay down in Thibodaux. Experience the culture of south Louisiana through dozens of authentic Cajun and family-friendly restaurants, or visit some of our popular attractions like the Torres Swamp or the historic Oak Alley Plantation. Whatever your fancy, we’ve got plenty to do.
Attractions: click here
What are my hotel/lodging options in Thibodaux?
There are several hotels in Thibodaux that are conveniently located near the fairgrounds and some of our parish’s most popular restaurants. So come on down and stay awhile, we’ll have some fun!