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Apr 24, 2010 8:03 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Volunteers Keep Festival International Free

Thousands swarm the streets of Lafayette during Festival International enjoying the music, food and shopping, but without the 1500 volunteers behind the scenes, the festival wouldn’t even be possible.

"Without the volunteers, it wouldn’t matter how many sponsors we had, it gives it the personality that it has,” Dana Canedo, the executive director of the festival, said.

First year volunteer, Wesley Williams, said he volunteers because it’s fun.

"I volunteer because I like being around the people, I like downtown Lafayette, the foods good, the music is good, the festivals pretty nice," Williams said.

One of the easiest ways to support the festival is by buying a festival pin. They're only ten dollars and they're available at six different locations.

Canedo said, "They get to take something home with them, not just the great memories of being here...it's a huge impact on festival."

Another volunteer, Dwight Kaufman, added, "All those profits are going towards making the festival free."

Kaufman enjoys the festival from behind the pin booth at the main stage; He says volunteering there doesn’t feel like work at all.

"This way we can interact with people, visit with friends when they come by and still be able to enjoy the music and the festivities," Kaufman said.

This year’s volunteer of the year, Melinda Felps, has been volunteering since 1992 and knows the festival is an important part of Lafayette.

Melinda Felps said, “I went to UL and I wanted to give something back to the community so this is what I choose to do."

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