Parenting: Creating a more inclusive Festival International

Beluga Project
Parenting: making Festival more inclusive
Posted at 3:29 AM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 04:29:38-04

For years, Occupational Therapist Dave Pilon has worked to get sensory areas at festivals across Acadiana.

"Lafayette has so many festivals, especially during the springtime," Pilon said. "We've heard from so many parents that they want to bring their kids to these festivals but it's too, loud, bright, and noisy. There has never been a designated space for an individual with sensory needs to go to and chill out and rest and still feel like you're a part of that event."

This year Zone Detente will make its debut at Festival International.

It is part of the Beluga Project, brainchild of Pilon, that was started after conversations with parents.

"It's for anyone who just needs a break and relax, chill out, or just be part of that space," Pilon said. "It's going to be close enough to Festival, so you still feel like you're a part of Festival. You can come hang out, chill out, and still do some things that is find too. It's open to any and everyone."

Pilon said you see these types of areas all over the country and with one of the largest free festivals in Louisiana on board, he is hoping to keep it going and open the conversation.

"The goal is to have multiple Zone Detentes around Festival so it's not just in one area," Pilon said. "Have it at the Boudin Festival, Crawfish Festival, LSU game, UL game. It would be nice to have a space like this all the time that promotes inclusivity."