As we head into the heart of spring, we have several very cool events happening around our community. Holiday In Dixie is coming up along with the Air Show at Barksdale, Artbreak and so many more great events. Here's a look at some of our top picks:

Grillin' for Grads

The Ark-La-Tex Ambassadors’ 4th annual BBQ Cook-off at Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana on Saturday April 9th. Proceeds from the BBQ Cook-off will go towards the Ark-La-Tex Ambassadors’ college scholarship essay contest for Ark-LA-Tex high school seniors. The event includes a Kids Cookoff, Rib-Eating Contest, Live Entertainment by Jacob Davis & Hydrogen Child and more.

Holiday in Dixie

April 15-24 at Festival Plaza in Downtown Shreveport. This event is put on by the Arklatex Ambassadors. This is the 68th year for this classic event. It includes a treasure hunt, a BBQ cookoff, a fun run and the classic parade. But the highlight for families is the carnival at festival plaza with a ferris wheel and other fun rides for the youngsters.

Crawfish with the Clergy

Hope Connections is hosting this event to help draw attention to the homelessness problem in Louisiana. The event is from 6-9pm Saturday night at 2350 Levy Street. The goal is to raise money to end homelessness. For $35, you can get all you can eat crawfish. Bishop Michael Duca is one of the local clergy members planning to attend this event.


April 18-24 at the Shreveport Convention Center. This is a showcase for artists with a special emphasis of arts in our schools. Youngsters will get hands-on opportunities to do all kinds of special arts. There are also awards for the best youth artists in our area.

The Thunderbirds photo courtesy

Barksdale Open House and Air Show

April 30 & May 1st. This is one of the oldest and largest events in our area drawing more than 100,000 people to the local base. It was first held in 1933 as a way to let the public know more about the local base. This year, the Thunderbirds from the Air Force will be performing. One little tip, bring sunscreen and water. It's usually pretty hot out on the tarmac.

Poke Salad Festival

May 9-14th in Blanchard, Louisiana. This quirky festival features a parade on Saturday morning and a treasure hunt. The big draw, though is the carnival with all kinds of great rides for the kids. You'll also get to check out some great food and music. And if you're brave, try some of the poke salad.

Photo: David Lee/Thinkstock

Mudbug Madness

May 26-29th at Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport. This festival is all about the crawfish. You will find crawfish pie, crawfish stew, fried crawfish and of course the standard boiled crawfish with corn and potatoes.  You'll also get great music with 3 stages of entertainment going throughout this event. You'll have a chance to hear some zydeco music along with the traditional country and rock and roll.

June 18th in Gilliam, Louisiana. This is one of my favorite festivals in the area. Just a short drive to Gilliam and you will find sunflowers in bloom throughout the town. There's music, food and fun. This is a must for photographers. It is simply spectacular.

Geek'd Con

August 19-21st at the Shreveport Convention Center. This is the newest event on our list. In this, the 2nd year, expect it to be even bigger and better. This is the event attracting geeks from all over the region. More than 10,000 people lined up in their costumes to learn about all things "geek". We will have several special guests and some really cool surprises this year.

Red River Revel

October 1-8th at Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport. This will be the 41st year for the Revel. It's been named as one of the Top 10 Events in Louisiana by Top Events USA. At the Revel, you will find very unique art from artisans all across the country. But the festival is more than art. You will find some great food and of course music from many different genres. The festival also has a special section and stage dedicated to children's activities.

State Fair of Louisiana

October 27-November 13th at the State Fairgrounds. So much is included with the State Fair. You have the agricultural events, the rodeo, a tractor pull, cheer championship, music and of course the midway. The rides are the biggest draw for most folks who go to the fair. Crabtree Amusements brings some of the best rides they have in their arsenal including Freak Out and Fireball. You will also find the traditional carousel and ferris wheel.