Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
It’s time for a party, so laissez les bons temps rouler.
The Gulf Coast Cajuns, the local chapter of the Cajun French Music Association, will hold its fifth annual Cajun Festival from 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19 at VFW Post 2775, which is located at 5303 N. 16th St. in Orange. Admission is $7 per person, while children ages 12 and younger are admitted free of charge. The public is invited.
The popular festival includes a variety of activities, such as the traditional crowning of the Cajun Heritage King between 11:30 a.m. - noon, Saturday, a live auction, a cake walk, a 50/50 split the pot, and, of course, great tasting food such as cracklins, links, gumbo, pork stew and more.
Music is a big part of the Cajun heritage and it is definitely a big part of the annual Cajun Festival in Orange.
Artists scheduled to participate this Saturday include Chris Miller and Bayou Roots, which is performing from 10 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., and Jesse Lege and The Southern Ramblers, which will perform from 2 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
“This year’s event will be more of the same,” said Rusty Benoit of the Gulf Coast Cajuns. “People know what to expect when they come out to the Cajun Festival, and that’s good food, music and fun. There’s no need to fix it if it isn’t broke.”
The Cajun French Music Association has chapters across a wide region, including local chapters in Orange and Nederland, among others in San Antonio and Houston. Several can be found in Louisiana in places such as New Orleans, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Houma, La., and even a chapter which has been established in Chicago.
“We are expecting a big turnout this year, judging from the response we have already received,” Benoit added. “Our attendance was down last year, but this year we have two chapters bringing over 100 people each, so we think about 500 people will be there on Saturday.”
The goal of the event is to raise funds for a variety of projects. Since the Gulf Coast Cajuns is a non-profit organization and, the chapter uses funds generated from the event to provide scholarships for local high school students and to assist with other community projects during the holiday season.
“This festival lets us help several organizations through the year, like Blue Santa, Cops ’N Kids and donate food for the needy,” Benoit said. “We give away two scholarships every year to Lamar State College-Orange. We would like to be able to give a third scholarship away this year, so the more people who come out, then the more likely we are to do that.”
Whether you enjoy the Cajun food or the music or just being able to socialize with people who share a common interest, Benoit believes Saturday’s event will offer that and more.
“People love Cajun food and music, and we will have plenty of both,” Benoit said. “Come out and see for yourself.”
For more information on this organization or its events, call Rusty Benoit at 409-791-7734.