Vinton celebrates 100th birthday with heritage festival

By Crystal Price - bio | email

VINTON, LA (KPLC) - The town of Vinton celebrated their 100th birthday on Saturday through a heritage festival in downtown Vinton.

The event consisted of live music, food, crafts, and games from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. along Center Street near the city park.

Residents said they couldn't believe it was already time to celebrate Vinton's 100th birthday.

"I can't believe it's that old, that must mean I'm getting older too," said Jolene Broussard, a former resident of Vinton.

Settlement in the Vinton area actually began in the late 1880s when a Dr. Seaman Knapp of Iowa began buying plots of land in the area.

As a result, a huge influx of people from the Vinton, Iowa area starting settling in this southwest Louisiana region that had not yet become a town.

Among those early settlers were the Fergusons, who are the grandparents of Iva Hudson Melancon of Sulphur.

"I have heard that the people started moving in and then that it first became recognized as a town in 1910," said Melancon. "My relatives were living here then."

Melancon recalls that the town of Vinton was known for it's rice farming during the early days.

"They had the canals and the farmers all had rice farms," said Melancon.

However, when the pump station closed Melancon said it became too expensive for the farmers to continue producing rice.

"There aren't many rice farmers around here anymore," said Melancon. "They either work at the shipyard or one of the plants now."

Residents said despite the loss of rice farming, the town still continues to prosper.

"It's grown quite a bit even though it's still a small town," said Broussard. "There have been a few more businesses come in along Main Street."

While Vinton may continue to grow and prosper, residents said the town will never grow too far from their roots.

Nancy Roy of Vinton keeps her memories of the historic town alive through putting photographs of historic buildings on Christmas ornaments and coffee mugs.

"The ornaments are something they will have forever, they can use it on their tree at Christmas time, or they can just hang it in a window," said Roy.

The town of Vinton was officially incorporated on October 10, 1910 by the Louisiana governor of that time Jared Y. Sanders.

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