The word “revelry” is defined as noisy or unrestrained merrymaking; boisterous festivity, but in Shreveport, revelry means more.

The Revel, to me, is more than face painting, bounce houses and bottles filled with colorful sand. It’s a feeling of home—a warm, welcoming celebration. It’s all things good, beautiful and local, our best foot forward and an overwhelming act of hospitality. Sure there is a middle-aged clown chasing children around their mothers and overpriced food, but in order to really understand Revel you need to look deeper.

The Revel is a meeting of old friends pushing strollers and doting on growing babies. It’s a come as you are, scrubs, boots or tank top kind of gathering. It’s awareness of and appreciation for cultures different from your own as you meander through the rows of winding artist booths. Also, I’m pretty sure it’s one of the only places you can see a debutante gnaw a turkey leg while tapping her toe to the music overhead.

Even the air is jovial at the Revel. Melodies bellow but begin to diminish and are then overlapped by new instruments as you wander around the festival. Zydeco, Rock, Country, Bluegrass, Reggae—it’s all there. Your limbs will begin to move and tap as if they have a life of their own. It happens to everyone and there’s no avoiding it.

As easily as you can get lost in the music, you can get lost wandering from booth to booth in fried food heaven. The smell is hypnotizing. My eyes and my stomach can never agree as I peer up at “The Board” of food choices. What to do? What to do? So many choices, so little time, so few dollars. So you settle for a meat pie and a roasted ear of corn, but it was no settlement at all. You hit the jackpot and to reward your excellent decision-making you’ll have a funnel cake for dessert. Or maybe cheesecake on a stick. Or maybe both!

Why do we Revel? Mainly because not going is like missing Homecoming or Thanksgiving dinner. You can’t. You shouldn’t. Who would want to? But also because it supports local artists as they share beauty as they see it. Remember that overpriced corndog? Well, that’s helping to fund many worthy not-for-profit causes. It’s a donation and dinner and no dishes afterward. And beer. Don’t forget the beer. Yes, that makes sense.

Revel is a stamp of Shreveport. It’s a feeling than runs straight down into our core and rests in our happy memory storage bank. Oh and it’s a party too. I mean, where else can a freight train drive straight past a crowd of hundreds of people and no one notices.

We’ll come back year after year. Why? I think one of this year’s artists said it best, “The idea is to keep shooting because I know that I’ve yet to take my best shot.” While working together, things can only get better. Constantly striving for our best, hoping for better, and celebrating our success is what it’s all about. Revel is Shreveportant.

Well done.