Contraband Days is one of Louisiana's largest festivals and the City of Lake Charles oldest festival and is celebrating its 60th year in 2017. Contraband Days is a themed "pirate" festival with close to 100 events. Contraband Days always falls on the first two weekends in May and it's a twelve day festival. The Festival is based on the Lake Charles Civic Center grounds with some events occurring throughout the City. Over 100,000 people attend Contraband Days Festival on land and on the water. This year we will bring many events that appeal to all ages, including the famous 'Wolves of the World.'
History tells us that Lafitte and his band of pirates frequented the area's waterways; they are said to have buried Lafitte's contraband somewhere in the city's vicinity. The Contraband Days festivities kick off every year with a pirate ship bombardment to "take control over the city" at the seawall of the Lake Charles Civic Center. A gang of rowdy and unruly buccaneers and "Jean Lafitte" overruns the blazing cannons of the local militia. They then raise their "Jolly Roger" flag and capture the mayor by force with swords drawn and make the mayor walk the plank into the waters of the lake. included are: evening parade, firework shows, carnival, entertainment on 3 stages, sailing regatta, cajun cuisine, contests, beach games, thrill attractions, many fun packed competitions and family night to name a few.
The mission of Contraband Days, Inc. is to promote an annual festival in Southwest Louisiana that provides quality family entertainment for residents and visitors of all ages and cultural backgrounds; to encourage maximum community involvement, participation, and attendance;and to promote Southwest Louisiana's quality of life and joie de vivre (joy of life).