Guest Author - Chris Curtis
For a Cajun and Zydeco dancer, the ultimate experience is to go to Lafayette, Louisiana to attend a festival. Cajun and Zydeco music come from the heart and culture of the people of Louisiana so it is not surprising that the grove and synergy is highly charged when the bands play at home on their own turf. Plus, there are many extremely talented non-touring bands that come out to play at the home festivals. They are not to be missed.
As you ponder how to spend your vacation dollars and limited vacation time for 2010, consider the value of going to Louisiana and attending Festival Arcadian et Creole over Columbus Day weekend. It is held at a time of year when the regional festivals have finished their season and the weather has cooled in most parts of the country. Yet, the weather remains warm and inviting in SWLA.
Festivals Acadien et Creole began in 1972 to keep the Cajun culture alive but has grown to include the Creole culture and thus, you will experience an eclectic mix of Cajun, Creole and Zydeco bands on the multiple stages. The event is fully supported by the city of Lafayette and many corporate sponsors. Visitors pay no admission fees. Yes, it's a free festival.
Festival Arcadian et Creole has several facets to enjoy with the weekend kick off, sponsored by Downtown Alive and Parc International in Lafayette, on Friday stretching it to a 3 day event. Saturday and Sunday features non-stop Cajun and Zydeco dance bands on multiple stages from 10:00am until 7:00pm, plus the Bayou Food Festival, the Louisiana Craft Fair, Louisiana Folk Roots, Culture Sur La Table, and LaPlace des Petits are all held on the same grounds.
Festival Arcadian et Creole is a well organized festival held in Gerard Park adjacent to University of Louisiana. With 5 stages featuring top musicians steeped in the Cajun and Zydeco cultures, this low key, sleepy festival is growing in popularity for dancers from around the US and world. It certainly is a low cost entertainment destination with no entrance fees, low day parking of no more than $10, reasonably priced food booths from some of the top Cajun, Creole and seafood restaurants in Lafayette and the surrounding communities. Plus there are a plethora of hotel/motel options in the immediate area that range from as low as $35 a night upwards to $90 depending on your choice of convenience.
The festival kicks on Friday with an official boudin (sausage) ribbon cutting at noon time sponsored by Downtown Alive. It's pretty unique as a line of officials donning rubber gloves, hold a string of boudin link sausage, each cutting their line. The sausage is then cut into smaller pieces for people to sample.
Beyond the festival experience, Lafayette is a hot bed of dancing activity throughout the weekend. The evenings are rich with dance clubs. Choose one venue or 2 or three venues and dance until your ready to drop to the sound of bands like Curley Taylor, Cory Ledet, Steve Reily, Geno Delafose, Roy Abshire, Pine Leaf Boys, Cedric Watson, Keith Frank and the list goes on and on.
If you can't make it to Festival Arcadian et Creole, think about Black Pot a couple weeks later or any number of other festivals that are held on weekends in SWLA. It's a sweet deal for your vacationing dollars. Visit SWLA, and dance your vacation away.