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Downtown businesses prepare for Festival International 2023

Posted at 12:31 AM, Apr 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-28 21:39:51-04

DOWNTOWN LAFAYETTE, L.a. — Festival International de Louisiane.

Perhaps the busiest time of year in Lafayette, as thousands make their way downtown for music, food, and fun. But with all of this comes a lot of preparation for downtown businesses.

Take Sunday's Soda Fountain, for example. Just opening in October 2022, this is the first festival season for one of Jefferson Street's newest hot spots.

Tony Hertschel is the general manager. With about 15 years of industry experience under his belt, he tells KATC he is doing what he can to ensure the five days of Festival go smoothly.

"You find something that you're good at, something that'll go quick-quick, and get people out the door, while also running full service inside," Hertschel tells KATC. "It's a fun dance, you know, you gotta make sure you have all hands on deck, make sure everyone's happy while they're working in such a stressful five days... but outside of that, you just do what you do best."

Just a walk down Jefferson Street to Pop's Poboys — another downtown staple.

Front-of-house manager Brandon Bourque says this isn't his first rodeo. Still, a lot goes into getting ready.

"It starts around January, we start ordering and really prepping for Festival, which is what — four or five months out?" says Bourque. "But yeah, it's insane. We just try to prepare as much as we can and it feels like we're never prepared!"

Preparations for a crowd Festival International organizers project will be triple the typical population size of the Hub City.

Tune in to GMA Festival Friday, 4/28, to get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the preparation process.

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