Now that Mardi Gras has come and gone, we wanted to put together a list of some of the biggest events going on in our area for the rest of this year. Here are our top picks:

Patty in the Plaza

Thursday night March 17th from 5-10pm. This is the party for St. Patty's Day. Of course you will find green beer. But there's so much more.  We will have a mechanical bull, stilt walkers and even adult twister. The band, LeFreak will be performing to give you a chance to get a little dancing in too. Get your tickets now and avoid lines at the gate.

Easter with the Roses 

Saturday March 19th at the American Rose Center on Jefferson Paige Road. We will have Easter egg hunts for all ages. Don't worry about the little ones getting trampled by the bigger kids. We will have so many other special events including a lady bug release. The Easter Bunny will also be there for your photo op.

Battle of the Gumbo Gladiators

March 19th at Festival Plaza in Downtown Shreveport. Gumbo specialists from all over the area battle for the title of "best gumbo". I've judged this event a couple of times and you will get to try to great bowls of gumbo. This is a fundraiser for Volunteers for Youth Justice. You'll find seafood gumbos and chicken and sausage gumbos.

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.

Artbreak

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 salthillairshow.com

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.

RedRiverRevel.com

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.