Each year, the festival adds one egg to the omelette ingredients before serving it up to the hundreds of festival-goers in attendance. The local omelette festival is tied to a confederation of similar celebrations held world-wide to promote and cultivate the French heritage of the local communities. Other omelette celebrations are held in Canada, France and Belgium. Concord Street and Magdalen Square were both teaming with people all weekend as the festival offers more than just the cooking of the omelette. In Magdalen Square, a juried group of artisans featuring wood-work, jewelry, candles, clothing, paintings, photo-prints, face painting, and food, food and more food were all on exhibit and all available for sale. Along side the square and in front of the court house, band stands were set up and had enthusiastic couples and children clapping and dancing to the music.
An antique car show was set up in the city parking lot behind City Hall and Vermilion Office Supply. Vehicles included Model-T’s, roadsters from the 1930’s, big fin cars from the 1950’s, muscle cars from the late 1960’s to early 1970’s, Volkswagen Bugs and souped up Bugs were all on display, along with a collection of antique John Deere farm tractors. Proud owners were talking and showing off their hard restoration work to the vehicles, while many a man aged mid 50’s to early 60’s all looked on longingly at the collection of highly polished cars.
Saturday’s main attraction to the Arts & Crafts Show was Guinness record-holder Howard Helmer. The three-time record holder for his high-speed “eggs-perience” holds the record as the fastest omelet cooker in the world and can whip up a whopping 427 omelets in a mere 30 minutes. To earn his second and third world records, Howard flipped an omelet an amazing 30 times in 34 seconds before it broke, and he cooked the fastest omelet ever recorded – 42 seconds from when the eggs were cracked to when the finished omelet was on the plate.
Also in attendance was Tony Simmons, Executive Vice President of McIlhenny Company. The family owned and operated maker of TABASCO Brand Pepper Sauce is celebrating its 140th year in business. Tony is the great-great grandson of the inventor of TABASCO, Edmund McIlhenny, and is the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the making of the world famous sauce.
Entertainment Saturday was from the Fricassee Cajun Band out of Lafayette, whose music was a traditional style of Cajun French Music. Also, the Renaissance Cadienne folkloric-theatre troupe performed. They specialized in the older music from France, Canada, and Louisiana. With their own band, the group sings and dances the music from the l8th and l9th centuries. Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, and the Cajun Music Hall of Fame entertainer D. L. Menard also performed Saturday. Menard has earned honors that include being nominated for a Grammy Music Award for the “Best Traditional Album” in 1993. Also, his Lifetime Achievement Award denotes Menard as a Master Traditional Artist whose influence on generations of Cajun musicians has been immeasurable.
Sunday, entertainment included the Berard Family Band, playing more traditional Cajun music. The Fa Tras Cajun band set the tempo to cook the omelette, while the TABASCO Girls entertained the crowd with their dance routine. The girls also kept the chevaliers (cooks) dancing in the street as the cooks took time off from stirring the omelette.
While many of those in attendance at the festival were from Vermilion Parish, there were a significant number of people from other regions of America. The special guests of the Omelette organization included other chevaliers from Canada and France.
Set the first weekend in November, the Omelette Celebration for next year will be November 7th and 8th.