MARKSVILLE, La. (The Daily Advertiser) – After a year’s absence, the Step-N-Strut Trail Ride will return this fall to a new location. The event kicks off with a Friday night concert Nov. 3 at Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville and continues Nov. 4-5 with outdoor events at the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe property in nearby Mansura.
With roots in St. Landry Parish, Step-N-Strut is one of the largest events on the Creole trail ride circuit, which stretches from Lafayette and the surrounding area to Houston. With as many as 10,000 people per day attending in the past, the ride has struggled to find locations big enough to handle its ever-growing crowd.
Sites in Leonville, Carencro, Opelousas, Plaisance and Natchez, Louisiana have been used in the past 18 years. The ride was canceled last year when plans to move to the Beauregard Civic Center in DeRidder encountered conflicting dates.
But Step-N-Strut organizer Dave Lemelle announced on YouTube Monday that the Marksville and Mansura locations provide plenty of room.
“We’ll be right down the road in Mansura, a big, huge place,” said Lemelle during the location announcement. “We’re talking about 130-some acres.
“We’ve got another big spot, right across the street. So actually, it’s 200-some acres. We’ve got overflow parking across the street.
“We’ll be right down the road from the casino on Highway 1. It’s a huge place.”
The event’s entertainment lineup will be announced at a later date. No horses will be allowed at the casino event.
Step-N-Strut is considered the largest of the Creole trail rides, which have become weekend festivals of live zydeco and R&B music, cooking, camping and horse competitions. Trail ride groups in Louisiana and Texas travel to support each other’s rides, resulting in hundreds of customized pick-up trucks, trailers, campers and RVs following these events.
In the past three years, Step-N-Strut held its ride at Zydeco Park in Plaisance, home of the Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival. Heavy rain before the 2015 ride shifted the location to the Yambilee Building in Opelousas.