Festival International is officially here, so get your dancing shoes and flower crowns ready for Acadiana’s biggest party of the year.
How did festival become part of Lafayette’s culture and history? It all started in 1987 as a way to boost Lafayette’s economy during the oil bust and bring more revenue to the area.
The goal was to bring tourists and more people to Lafayette. It worked out.
More than 300,000 people attend the festival each year with an economic impact around 49 million dollars annually.
“They come in, spend money through transportation, hotels, and food,” said Vice President of Marketing for the festival Brad Cradeur. “It’s quite huge for Lafayette.”
The first festival was during the Fourth of July weekend. Fast forward years later, the annual event is now in late April, taking advantage of the spring weather.
“Years later, this is what you have. We take over downtown with five stages and throw one of the biggest international music festivals in the world,” said Cradeur.
Besides the music, food is another staple at festival. Bread bowls, boudin, alligator bites and more will all be on sale. What was once an idea to help an economy impacted by a downturn in oil has now expanded to something more. It’s a tradition that brings families together all while celebrating cultures worldwide.