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Cracklin Festival holds special significance for original organizer of event

The first night of the Port Barre Cracklin Festival is officially underway.

The four-day event features food, live music, rides and a grand parade on Saturday.

Port Barre Lions Club charter member Johny Dunbar is the only surviving member who originally brought the event into fruition back in 1985.

“At one of the meetings, one of the guys walked in with a bag of cracklins and a six pack of beer, and low and behold the suggestion was made that we have a cracklin cook-off,” explained Dunbar.

The one-day cook-off fundraiser turned into a four-day Cracklin Festival.

It now draws in thousands of people and raises proceeds for the Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation, which is an organization Dunbar is very passionate about.

“We send people from here that are totally blind, and they come back and can get a driver’s license,” said Dunbar.

The proceeds also go towards helping children with developmental disabilities at Louisiana Lion’s Camp.

“It’s very important that they get to go to this camp so that they know that they aren’t any different than they are, and that they have the exact same opportunities and chances that we do in life, and that they don’t need to stop shooting for the stars. That they absolutely can have the best life that they choose to have,” said Port Barre Lions Club Cracklin Festival Queen Mikalyn Russell.

Josh Meny

Josh Meny

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