Vendors regain losses with the return of Soul Food Festival


BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)- The sights, sounds and smells of a Louisiana festival filled the air of Downtown Baton Rouge this weekend at the Baton Rouge Soul Food Festival.

Merlin Benefiled with ‘Oh Yeah Crawfish’ says vendors like him were hit hard when Louisiana festivals cancelled in 2020. He says festivals count for a big part of his business.

“I can’t do day to day operations because I have a full time job so festivals are the most profitable,” he said.

Henry Turner, Jr., founder of the Soul Food Festival, says he is excited to bring business back to the vendors recovering. 

“This is a great economic development too. Because this puts people in hotels, puts restaurants and businesses downtown.”

According to Turner, the festival reached record breaking attendance. Turner says the high turnout comes after the state missed out on festivals last year.

“We sold out yesterday, I think we were the first truck closed,” Benefiled said.

For festival goers this festival is the perfect way to celebrate the state coming out of the pandemic.

“It’s wonderful to have gatherings outside and feel safe. We’re excited to be out here and be surrounded by such great culture,” Leonard Augustus, patron said.

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