Disclosure :: this post is sponsored by Festivals Acadiens et Créoles.
Fall time in Acadiana means football, cool fronts (hopefully), the time change where we gain an hour, and Festivals Acadiens et Créoles! Oh mon dieu, what a cultural treat.
Festivals Acadiens et Créoles makes up everything there is to love about South Louisiana, delicious food, music that’ll make you two-step until your feet hurt, friendly folks, and an all-out celebration of Cajun / Creole culture. What happens in Girard Park every October is, in my opinion, magical.
I’ve been attending this festival with my kids since they were born so I know a thing or two about trying to get funky while tending to tiny human needs. As a momma who loves to festival, there is nothing more important than being prepared if you plan to spend a full day out there, which you definitely should. I put together 15 pro-tips because I believe in all mommas getting their festival on, aye yie!
It’s a free festival run on volunteers.
Free, family fun, y’all. A huge plus is that it’s a fairly uncrowded festival because of the layout at Girard Park so it makes for pushing strollers and wagons around a lot easier. Note: It’s always a good idea to have cash on hand at any festival.
Festival go-ers can park at Cajun Field and pay $2 each way to shuttle to Girard Park and back! Parking at UL Campus is available at $10 per entry. Only debit and credit cards are accepted.
Comfy, comfy, comfy!
Wear shoes that won’t blister and put your kids in outfits that they can get down and dirty in. When I bathe my girls after a day at Festival, the bath water is usually brown. They play hard! Let em’ be kids and don’t dress them in anything you don’t want getting coated in dust. You’ll definitely want to lather on some sunscreen and then pack said sunscreen so you can reapply.
Wagons & strollers
Wagons and strollers are your best friend because they allow you to haul more stuff (blankets, chairs, etc.).
Baby carriers will allow you to be hands free, which means more dancing with your partner!
Potty Seat / Toilet Paper
I personally pack my own toilet paper just in case. We also travel with a potty seat since port-a-potties are, well, port-a-potties. You just place the seat on top of the port-a-potty seat. You can find this brand on Amazon or online at Wal-Mart. I use the seat for myself too, treat yo self! For this pit stop you’ll want to have hand sanitizer in the bag.
Enjoy the Music
Kids love observing all the dancing and it’s too cute for words when they try and imitate it. Make time to stop and enjoy the music. I’ll have my 6-month-old son in tow this year so I went ahead and bought some noise cancelling head phones. I can get up close and not worry! If you don’t plan on getting close to the stage, then I wouldn’t worry about the headphones.
Go Without a Plan
When I festival without kids, I usually have a game plan of all the acts I want to see and I know what stages they are at and what not. With kids, I take what I can get because there’s no plan and we’re usually just hopping around from one activity or stage to the next. Luckily, every band is really awesome and entertaining.
AH-MAZING Food Vendors
My mouth is watering just thinking about it. My 5-year-olds don’t appreciate fried catfish the way we do. I can get them to take a few bites but it’s always a good idea to pack their favorite snacks. Reusable water bottles will save your life too. Having water handy keeps them hydrated and keeps the meltdowns at bay.
My twin daughters are HUGE face painting fans. Since I know it’s going to make them super happy right away, we face paint as soon as we arrive on Saturday. They love to show it off and are more patient after they’ve done the number one thing on their festival wish list. The main area for kids is called La Place Des Petits which is Presented by Children’s Museum of Acadiana. There your petits can enjoy crafts and games. The Louisiana Craft Fair has a second area for kids to create a festival keepsake.
Girard Park has recently added a splash pad. I’m not sure if it’s going to be active or not for festival, but it might be a good idea to bring a towel and bathing suit just in case!
For keeping cool, the Atelier tent will be air conditioned this year and a shade structure will also be available at the Anniversary Stage, located on the grounds of the Hilliard University Art Museum. The Anniversary stage is a smaller less crowded stage with plenty of grass for the kids to run around while mom and dad enjoy some music. This stage will make a great home-base for you to regroup. Bring a blanket and set-up camp under a tree.
Bring Your Instrument
If your kid plays an instrument, make sure they bring it. They can jump in on the fun at the Jam ça tent!
Don’t forget, the Festivals Acadiens et Créoles is at Girard Park so there is an entire playground for your kids to get tuckered out on.
Some lagniappe items would be things like a hand-held fan, a ball to kick or throw around, and bubble wands for more fun.
Make your list and check it twice. It’s like you’re going hiking for the day and everything you need will be in your backpack, wagon or stroller! I applaud all parents who pack up and haul out to festival for the day. It requires a ton of patience and more power to moms like us for taking the opportunity to expose our children to Cajun / Creole culture. Allons!