Annual Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival to kick off Friday - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Annual Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival to kick off Friday

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Jim Croce Jim Croce
Jimi Jamison Jimi Jamison

NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - Annual Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival to begin with Friday night tribute. 

The eleventh annual Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival will take place on September 20 and 21. The Festival is held on the riverbank in historic downtown Natchitoches along Cane River Lake. The event is free and open to the public. Friday's activities begin at 5 p.m. with a tribute to legendary musician Jim Croce featuring Doc Couty, Relix, Johnny Earthquake & The Moondogs and Billy O'Con Band.

On Thursday, September 20, 1973, Croce and four others were killed when the chartered plane he was traveling in crashed while taking off from the Natchitoches Regional Airport in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Croce had just completed a concert at Northwestern State University's Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches. Croce was best known for the hit single "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown.

On Saturday, activities begin at 7 a.m. with a 5k Run on Riverbank sponsored by Natchitoches Central High School Booster Club, followed by registration at 10 a.m. for the River Run, opening ceremonies, children's activities, arts and crafts vendors. The River Run, sponsored by the Independent Motorcycle Riders of Natchitoches, will begin at 12 p.m. Cash prizes will be awarded.

Headlining Saturday's entertainment is Jimi Jamison, the lead singer from the band  "Survivor". Jamison is best known for the hit song "Eye of the Tiger", a theme song from the 1980's hit movie "Rocky III". Music will continue all day with performances by Louisiana LeRoux, Billy O' Con Band, G.G. Shinn with Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame Band, Tildon Gillum Band, Black Water Bride Band and Cheridy Adams & Impressions Band.

A large children's activity area will be available featuring games, arts and crafts, inflatable jumps and Meat Pie tasting and eating contest will be throughout the day. In conjunction with the Festival, the 14th annual River Run will be held on the downtown riverbank.  The ride is open to all motorcycle riders and proceeds benefit the El Camino Real Boys & Girls Club of Natchitoches. 

Natchitoches is known as the official "Meat Pie Capital of Louisiana." Meat pies are half-moon shaped pastries that are hand crimped and filled with seasoned beef and pork before being fried to perfection, similar to a Spanish empanada. Historical documents have traced the meat pie back to the early 1700's. This pastry is also closely identified with the Cane River community of Natchitoches Parish.

The public is asked to bring lawn chairs. No ice chests will be allowed into the festival area. For a complete schedule of events visit the Festival website at www.meatpiefestival.com or call the Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 259-1714.

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