Music and food are an integral part of the Cajun way of life. This is evidenced by the many festivals held in the region with entertainment provided by Cajun and Zydeco music and irresistible food.
Although there is a festival somewhere every weekend in Acadiana, Lafayette’s two main festivals represent both the Cajun and Creole culture and its international influences. And, of course, each festival has a food component, so you will not go hungry while dancing the day and night away.
Festivals Acadiens et Créoles
Started in 1972 as an effort to keep Cajun and Creole culture alive, Festivals Acadiens et Créoles has grown into a free three-day festival in October attracting people of many different nationalities from all over the world. Festivals Acadiens et Créoles features some of the finest Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco musicians around Acadiana.
The festival is held in Girard Park and also offers authentic Cajun and Creole cooking, rich cultural heritage and art components, with the Bayou Food Festival, Louisiana Craft Fair, and Louisiana Fold Roots held in conjunction with the music. Visit festivalsacadiens.com for more information.
Festival International de Louisiane
Festival International de Louisiane is a community-based, nonprofit arts organization that produces an annual, free five-day visual and performing arts festival in Downtown Lafayette.
Festival International celebrates the French cultural heritage of southern Louisiana, which consists of a combination of French, African, Caribbean, and Hispanic influences.
The festival places special emphasis on highlighting the connections between Acadiana and the Francophone world. Each year, performing visual and culinary artists from Europe, Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, and the Americas are invited to share their talents with Louisiana artists, residents, and visitors.
Since its inception, Festival International de Louisiane has become internationally recognized as a premier presenter of some of the most unique world musicians and performances in the U.S. Popular Louisiana artists such as Aaron Neville, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Allan Toussaint, Zachary Richard, Sonny Landreth, Beausoleil, Buckwheat Zydeco, Boozoo Chavis, Amedee “Bois Sec” Ardoin, D.L. Menard, Terrance Simien, Gary Clark Jr., C.J. Chenier, Geno Delafose, Marc Broussard, Marcia Ball, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Canray Fontenot, and Buddy Guy have all performed on the Festival stages. For more information, call the festival office at (337) 232-8086 or visit festivalinternational.com.
A Louisiana tradition, Lafayette has its own style of Mardi Gras, which is the second-largest in the state. The Mardi Gras season features parades, balls, masking, and more, most in a family friendly atmosphere. Krewes begin gearing up for the season months in advance, as do the Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras, Lafayette, and independent Mardi Gras associations. The festivities kick off each year with the Friday night parade and Le Festival de Mardi Gras a Lafayette at Cajun Field and continue through Fat Tuesday. Surrounding towns all have their own version of Mardi Gras as well, from the courirs (runs) in the countryside to Eunice’s La Grande Boucherie. For more information on Lafayette Mardi Gras, visit lafayettetravel.com.
Other Area Festivals Combining Music and Food
Rice Capital Championship
Washington Catfish Festival
Cajun Hot Sauce Festival
April, New Iberia
Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival
May, Breaux Bridge
Opelousas Spice and Music Festival
Erath 4th of July Celebration
Gueydan Duck Festival
Delcambre Shrimp Festival
Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival
September, Morgan City
Rayne Frog Festival
Louisiana Cajun Food Festival
Louisiana Cotton Festival
October, Ville Platte
Abbeville’s Cattle Festival
Louisiana Yambilee Festival
Crowley Rice Festival
Abbeville’s Giant Omelet Celebration