The people along the Gulf Coast have our hearts right now. And what do we get in return? Oh, just a weekend jammed with magnificent food, even better music and a parade that is pure jumping joy. The Long Beach Bayou Festival & Mardi Gras is always a welcoming scene: lots of grass and room for all your chairs and crap; two stages so there's always live music action; and every Cajun and Creole delicacy you can name. It's definitely the best-smelling music festival around: jambalaya, crawfish, and whatever mirlitons smell like. Don't forget those rolled-up balls of deep-fried hog parts known as boudin. You can take a free dance lesson, or, what the hell, just let your limbs invent their own version of the Tabasco Tango. As usual, the musical lineup is the best you'll hear this side of the Mississippi: Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie; T-Broussard & The Zydeco Steppers; Cory Ledet & His Zydeco Band; Zac Harmon; plus this year you can catch Tito Jackson (yep) on the blues stage. Proceeds benefit Comprehensive Child Development.

Sat., June 26, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., June 27, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m., 2010

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