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Bonnie & Clyde Festival to showcase law enforcement

Special to the Minden Press-Herald

The Authentic Bonnie & Clyde Festival Committee invites you to join us in Gibsland, Louisiana on Friday night, May 24, 2019 and all day Saturday, May 25, 2019 for our 27th festival as we take you back to 1934 with events planned for the Bonnie and Clyde Festival. 

This year’s festival is being held in honor of the dedicated men and women of law enforcement, who endlessly strive to protect and serve.  You will witness five factual reenactments of mock bank robberies and shoot outs in the streets!  

The festival began in May 1993 due to the abundance of inquiries at Gibsland City Hall and the local gas stations for information about Bonnie & Clyde and requesting instructions to the marker at the ambush site.  The festival started with a couple of shoot outs and now has five including re-creating the ambush at the site!  

To display the history of this event, the Authentic Bonnie & Clyde Museum was opened in 1996.  In the museum, you will find an array of memorabilia, pictures, and the museum is also where the festival planning meetings are held.  Also in the Museum, during the festival and all year long, we sell the official festival t-shirts and souvenirs to help with festival expenses. 

On May 23, 1934, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow purchased their last meal at Ma Canfield’s Café in Gibsland, then headed to their hide-out. At 9:15 a.m. nine miles southwest of Gibsland on highway 154, Bonnie and Clyde were blasted into history as the two met their death.  With Bonnie still holding her half-eaten sandwich, bullets pounded into Clyde’s stolen V-8 Ford

Hidden in the brush on top of a hill, six officers (four of them from Texas and two from Louisiana) pumped over a hundred bullets into their car before Bonnie or Clyde could raise a hand, or a gun, in self-defense.  They blasted Clyde’s Ford because they were afraid he was about to shoot his way out of the trap set for them. The ambush made headlines around the globe and gave birth to a legend that has long out-lived the officers who ambushed them.  The festival aims to show that crime does not pay and aims to honor the four Texas officers and the Bienville Parish Sheriff, along with his Chief Deputy who put their lives on the line to end the career of the notorious outlaws. The festival also aims to honor the law officers today who put their lives on the line for us each and every day.

Persons interested in the history of Bonnie and Clyde are asked to join us as the festival begins on Friday, May 24, 2019 with a gathering of historians and crime buffs at 6:00 p.m. at the Gibsland Bank Annex, located next door to Gibsland Grill.  Admission to the meeting will be $10.00 and includes a delicious meal of jambalaya, salad, dessert and tea until we run out!  Perry Carver, owner of the Ambush Museum, has gathered several speakers for the much anticipated event!  Also, Friday night from 6:00-until, D. J. Don Miley will be playing a variety of music for the street dance.  Street vendors will also be selling delicious food, arts and crafts.

Come early Saturday morning and enjoy a pancake breakfast at the Gibsland Lion’s Club building from 8:00-10:00 a.m. for $5.00 per plate.  There have been surprise visits from outlaws during this breakfast so don’t miss the excitement!  Beginning at 9:00, we are excited to have a variety of entertainment throughout the day,   At 11:00 a.m. there will be an adult look-alike contest for Bonnie and Clyde.  Fifty dollars each will be given to the best look-alike for Bonnie and Clyde.  There will also be a Bonnie and Clyde look-alike contest for children with the prize being $25 for each child chosen.  Please plan to dress up and join in the fun in front of city hall at this time!    A schedule of events will be posted at Gibsland Grill, The Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Museum and the Ambush Museum.  There will be games for the children as well as Bingo games for all to enjoy.  At 12:00, there will be a parade with many antique cars, floats, motorcycles, etc. to thrill the viewers!