Sno-Ball. Sno-Cone. What’s in a name?

Photo by Allison DeHart

It’s an uncharted controversy, matching the spirited feuds over king cake typology or the correct spelling of boo-day. Is it a sno-cone or a sno-ball? Well, labels aside, they’ve got their own festival now, hosted by Downtown Lafayette Unlimited and opening this week. 

The inaugural Downtown Sno-Ball Festival — not, pointedly, sno-cone festival — will take place at Parc Sans Souci the weekend before Lafayette Parish Public Schools begin and the same night as Artwalk, Aug. 10. 

The idea came out of a casual conversation between DLU Director Maureen Dugas Foster and Downtown Operations Manager Hunter Hebert. “It was one of those ‘wouldn’t it be awesome to do a sno-ball fest’ kind of ideas … and then we decided to run with it,” says Foster. A spread of sno-ball illustrations by Aileen Bennett, featured in a summer edition of The Acadiana Advocate, was a big inspiration. 

Seven flavored, shaved-ice vendors from around Acadiana will be on site, offering up virtually every shape and color in the sno-dessert rainbow. Crowley’s ISIS Snowballs will bring its trademark tropical flavors served in hollowed out pineapples, coconuts and watermelons, while Pamplona, Spoonbill, Pop’s Poboys and Jefferson Street Pub will have “shaved ice cocktails,” a.k.a. snoballs with booze. Other vendors include Broussard’s Brain Freeze, Lafayette’s Creole Flavor Snow, The Big Chill of Breaux Bridge, Youngsville’s HomeGrown SnoBalls, Carencro’s Kona Ice and S.A.B’s Snoball Shoppe of Brusly. 

To be clear, these are sno-balls: fluffy, sugary cups of shaved ice served with flavored syrups. Not to be confused with sno-cones: fluffy, sugary cups of shaved iced served with flavored syrups in a cone. Foster clarifies the nomenclature controversy: 

“It’s sno-ball,” she says. “I’m originally from Lafayette, but I spent a lot of time in NOLA, which is where they come from. Unless it’s served in a paper cone. Then it’s a sno-cone.” 

*Editor’s Note: In my 35 years on this planet I’ve never once eaten anything called a sno-ball. Nor have I ever eaten a sno-cone served in an actual cone. 

Tasters are priced at $1 each, and vendors will have full-size options for sale so festival-goers can run the sno-ball gauntlet without a big wallet hit. 

The new Sno-Ball Festival is a secondary fundraiser for DLU, which operates as a 501c6 nonprofit, pairing with the outfit’s main fundraiser, the concert series Downtown Alive! 

“The funds from this event will go toward our DLU events and programming, which bring local businesses together through monthly lunch and learns and quarterly happy hour meet-ups,” says Foster.  

“We also intend to partner with DDA on projects like our beautification campaign [installing hanging planter baskets on the light poles along Jefferson].”  

The festival features a ton of family-fun activities, including face painting, a painting booth in which the kiddos can go home with their very own 5×5 canvas painting, a fun jump and Lafayette Public Library book-mobile. There will also be live performances by The Rayo Brothers and the children’s music group School of Rock. 

Whatever you call them — sno-cone, sno-ball, snoball, snowball or packed-ice-sugar-cup — they’re all icy and delicious. Just don’t call the ones with liquor in them “adult sno-balls.” That’s illegal, evidently.

The Downtown Sno-Ball Festival is Saturday, Aug. 10 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m in Parc Sans Souci. It’s a free event open to all ages. For more information visit the event’s Facebook page.