Catch of the day at the Cameron Fishing Fest - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Catch of the day at the Cameron Fishing Fest

CAMERON, LA (KPLC) -

The Cameron Fishing Festival means food, fun and of course, fish!

"There's three different divisions" said Penelope Richard, Secretary of the Cameron Parish Lion's Club who sponsors the festival.  "There's an offshore division, there's a bay and surf division and there's a red fish challenge.  We always have some really great catches throughout the fishing rodeo" said Richard.  

The festival, now in it's 7th year has seen the community of Cameron through some rough patches.

"We started in 2005" said Richard.  "We had our first festival the year Rita hit in August of 2005 and we've had it every year since".

Surviving hurricanes Rita and Ike, the festival now serves as a symbol for the residents of Cameron, of what home is.

"We've been able to even have it in spite of the hurricane" Richard said.  "We moved it to Grand Chennier for two years after Rita and after Ike but each year we try to come back to Cameron".

This year's festival featured a special guest; Author, Ron Thibodeaux, who's book 'Hell or High Water', focuses heavily on the struggles the parish went through to rebuild.

"There were a lot of challenges for people who were trying to come back here to a place they called home and their families called home for so many years and generations even" said Thibodeaux.

For him, the New Orleans native who's grown to know and love Cameron, the festival carries a much deeper significance.

"For a community to have something like this where they can gather as that community and really recognize and celebrate what it is that makes a place special that's really important" Thibodeaux said.

The festival isn't just about catching the biggest fish, although there are some prizes for that.  Proceeds go to schools in Cameron Parish in the form of funding and scholarships.

"Our main focus is scholarships" said Cameron schools Superintendent, Stephanie Rodrigue.  "Every school is represented in some way at the festival as a non profit... there's no charge for them to be here.  They can creatively come up with a booth of their choice and so they're here making money for their school" Rodrigue said.

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