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Every year, tens of thousands of folks descend upon the rodeo grounds in West Feliciana Parish for the annual Angola Prison Rodeo.  Unfortunately for fans, the fall events have been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns - but there is a silver lining.

Annual Angola Prison Rodeo Turns Inmates Into Cowboys
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

The money earned each year at the rodeo directly benefits the prisoners

Every year, the thousands of folks that attend the world famous Angola Prison Rodeo pay about $5 each to get into the show.  That's roughly $450,000-a-day!  While the inmates that participate can earn prizes up to $500 (a pretty big jump from the $0.02-to-$0.75 an hour usually earn), the remainder of the money is put to good use.  It reportedly pays for Baptist seminary classes at the prison, funerals for inmates, educational programs and maintenance of the prison's six chapels.

Traditional Open Air Christmas Market In Madrid
Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Prison officials have a plan to replace the funds usually raised by the rodeo

Facing the unfortunate fact that the rodeo wouldn't be around to earn that much needed money for the second year in a row, prison officials decided to focus on another area that the Angola inmates excel at: Arts & crafts.

Inside the tall, razor-wired fences and concrete walls, inmates have a lot of time on their hands.  To fill that time productively, the prison offers several creative outlets for those confined inside.  Many have whittled away at their sentences by making all kinds of things in the shops and workrooms.  The plan is to sell these hand made, one-of-a-kind products to the public at a massive arts and craft show just before Christmas!

Saxon Artisans Craft Christmas Decorations
Photo by Joern Haufe/Getty Images

The products you can buy at this show aren't what you think

I know what you may be thinking, and no - you don't have to get "shivs" (common slang for a makeshift knife made in jail) for everyone's stocking this holiday season.  The inmates at Angola have been hard at work crafting jewelry, purses, belts, rocking chairs, tables, BBQ pits, and lots of other things that would absolutely fit on your loved one's Christmas wish-list.  Plus, think of the story that goes with it!  I bet no one gets your mother-in-law a present from the Big House!

You'll have to get a ticket to shop at this unique event

According to WGNO, the Angola Prison Fall Arts and Crafts Show is slated for Sunday, Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the prison in West Feliciana Parish - but you can't just walk in.  You'll need a ticket and proof of your COVID-19 vaccination.  Those tickets are just $5, and you can get them at the gate or buy them in advance here.

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