The 2021 International Acadian Festival will roll into action one year after the first-ever cancellation of the event in its 52-year history, according to organizers for the weekend-long bash.
The event is scheduled for Oct. 22-24 at Mark A. “Tony” Gulotta Waterfront Park.
The 2021 festival will feature its longtime traditions, including the carnival rides, live music, food, arts and crafts and other attractions.
While the coronavirus pandemic played a role in last year’s cancellation, it was not the main catalyst.
Earlier in 2020, the company that provided the festival’s carnival rides for 30 years went out of business, which left organizers without one of the event’s biggest attractions.
“We could not find a rides company, and there aren’t that many ride companies remaining … there’s only eight or so in the region,” Smith said. “We had a problem getting one for the third October for this year’s event, so we had to switch to the fourth weekend of the month, so we’d have a ride company.”
The Knights of Columbus signed a three-year contract with the ride company to ensure it does not face the same dilemma as last year, he said.
As for the COVID-19 issue, only an executive order from the state to cancel outdoor events would put the brakes on this year’s festival, he said.
Smith does not foresee a cancellation of this year’s event.
Masks will not be required at the event since festivities will be held outdoors.
Handwashing stations will be placed at the event.
“People can sanitize their hands at their convenience, and if they want to wear masks, they’re welcome to do so,” he said.
Originally known as “The Cajun Festival,” the festival was the brainchild of Post/South co-founder/publisher/editor Gary J. Hebert, who began the event in 1969. It became known as the International Acadian Festival one year later.