Festivals Acadiens et Creole
Festivals Acadiens et Creole, a three-day celebration of music, food and art, has grown into one of Louisiana's biggest events. The festival's free admission is not the only draw. The event is also soothing for the soul.
Author Ian McNulty writes about the festival's healing touch in his recent book, Louisiana Rambles. In 2005, McNulty was starving for some Louisiana fun, two months after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his New Orleans home and much of the city. A road trip to Lafayette and the festival helped ease the pain.
"As usual, admission to the Festivals Acadiens was free, the Franco-phone centric music was glorious, the cans of beer were inexpensive and ice cold," McNulty wrote. "The food, with its main ingredients of crawfish, shrimp and pork manipulated into about sixty different varieties of handheld meals, was righteous. And, that year, the crowd was filled with New Orleanians letting go of their many worries on a dance floor made of grass and dirt."
For more than 35 years, locals and visitors have released their worries at the festival. It is held the second full weekend in October at Girard Park on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus. This year's edition takes place October 9-11.
Since 1974, the event has grown into a collection of festivals that celebrate the native Cajun and Creole cultures of southwest Louisiana. The main draw and oldest attraction, Festival de Musique Acadienne, is a three-day, three-stage music event that honors musical pioneers and highlights the new generation of stars.
This year's entertainers include Jo-El Sonnier, DL Menard, Geno Delafose and the French Rockin' Boogie, Christine Balfa, Wayne Toups ZydeCajun, Roddie Romero and the Hub City All Stars, and many others.
The Bayou Food Festival offers authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine, including such specialities as fried frog legs, soft shell crab, po-boys, and Creole stuffed breads.
The Louisiana Crafts Fair showcases dozens of professional artists from the Louisiana Crafts Guild. These craftspeople sell their goods, which includes stained glass, jewelry, handmade soap, wood furniture, pottery, and zydeco rub boards.
Louisiana Folk Roots, a Cajun and Creole cultural preservation group based in Lafayette, hosts a workshop stage where musicians explain and demonstrate musical styles, instruments, tell stories, and more. Novice and veteran musicians create fresh sounds in a jam session tent led by accomplished local artists.
Cultures sur la Table - Culture on the Table - is a festival event that features food demonstrations by restaurant chefs and cooks from grocery stores and meat markets.
Children can enjoy games, dancing, instrument making, and more cultural fun at La Place des Petits, or Place of Little Ones.
For more festival information and a music schedule, visit www.festivalsacadiens.com