Each year during the first weekend of November, thousands of people gather in Abbeville’s Magdalen Square to celebrate the Giant Omelette Festival. They experience many activities, such as the cooking of the 5,000 egg omelette, an antique car show, an art show, authentic Cajun food, and musical entertainment. The history of this “egg-citing” festival begins with Louisiana’s French heritage and has become an international celebration.
The origin of the Omelette Festival has its roots in a legend featuring Napoleon’s travels through the south of France. According to the legend, a local innkeeper prepared delicious omelettes for Napoleon on the morning of his overnight rest near the town of Bessieres. The omelette was such a hit that Napoleon ordered the townspeople to collect all the eggs in the village, so that a huge omelette could be prepared for his army the following day. From this celebration sparked a tradition to feed the poor of the village at Easter. The omelette has also become the symbol of a world-wide fraternity, known as the Confrerie, which is rich in friendship, tradition, and cultural exchange.
Abbeville was first introduced into the Confrerie in 1984 when three members of the Chamber of Commerce attended the annual festival in Bessieres, France. These three members were knighted as the first of Abbeville’s Chevaliers. The Chamber of Commerce members returned home with enthusiasm and determination to bring Abbeville closer to its French heritage. And, in 1985, the first Omelette Festival was held in Abbeville. Abbeville joined the sisterhood of cities that celebrate the festival, which now includes six cities: Bessiers, France; Frejus, France; Dumbea, New Caledonia; Granby, Quebec, Canada; and Malmedy, Belgium.
The Omelette Festival is a fun-filled, two-day, and free event with many activities. Each year during the Omelette Festival, foreign representatives from each city of the sisterhood are knighted as chevaliers into Abbeville’s Confrerie. During both days, visitors have a chance to view antique cars, an art show, attend Kid’s World, and tour the beautiful Magdalen Square, which features many arts and crafts from local artisans, culinary delights from local chefs and restaurants, and live Cajun music in the gazebo. On Saturday, visitors have the delightful chance to tour many of the homes in a trolley. Sunday, the “big day,” starts off with an Omelette Mass at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church. A parade, known as the Procession of the Egg, begins after lunch. Local and foreign dignitaries travel from the church through the town to in front of the Vermilion Parish Courthouse, the omelette cooking area, and as they parade around the town they carry baskets filled with the 5,000 eggs to be used for the omelette. Spectators gather around the giant 12-foot skillet and watch as the chefs prepare and cook the omelette. The chefs use 6-foot paddles to stir the omelette. Cooking time for the omelette is about one hour. Once the omelette is finished cooking, portions of it are handed out to the crow for all to enjoy this wonderful and tasty delight.
5000 small Eggs
50 pounds medium Onion, chopped
75 Green Bell Peppers, finely chopped 1 1/2 gallons pure Vegetable Oil
52 pounds Butter 6 1/4 gallons Milk
4 gallons chopped Green Onion Tops 2 gallons finely chopped fresh Parsley
Tabasco Pepper Sauce (season to taste) Crawfish Tails
Giant Omelette Festival Photos: