Louisiana is often called the Festival Capital of America because the state hosts over 400 festivals each year. Some of the most popular are Mardi Gras, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and the Louisiana Swamp Stomp.
Louisiana is most well-known for its decadent Mardi Gras celebrations. The primary celebration takes place in New Orleans, but parades occur in cities all over the state. The last day before Lent, Mardi Gras is a last chance to enjoy all the things forbidden during Lent. Partygoers wear purple, green and gold, and catch beads thrown from parade floats.
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is held at the end of spring. This festival features world-renowned musical acts, artisan craftspeople and traditional Louisiana cuisine. Musical performances cover the wide range of styles popular in the region, including not only jazz, but also bluegrass, Cajun, gospel and many others. The festival spans two weekends and attracts over 400,000 visitors each year.
The Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival at Nicholls State University is another celebration of Louisiana culture and heritage, specifically south Louisiana. Artisans sell their crafts and local musicians play traditional music. This festival has more of an educational agenda, with presentations covering the history, culture and development of the region. The festival also offers "Tresors du Bayou," a popular educational program for elementary- and middle-school students from the area.