Festival International: Everything You Need to Know (And Yes It’s Kid-Friendly)
‘Tis the season! In South Louisiana, it’s festival season. Lafayette hosts one of my favorite festivals–Festival International de Louisiane. This 5-day festival hosted in Downtown Lafayette attracts nearly 300,000 visitors from 48 states and 26 countries in years passed.
But my favorite part? The kids LOVE it!
If you’re ready to venture out to Downtown with your kids, here’s some useful info for you to know.
Leave your ice chests and lunchboxes at home, because the festival eats might just be one of the highlights of the festival. There are food vendors around the various music stages that will satisfy your cravings wherever you venture to. From burgers to boudin to Mediterranean to seafood favorites, I promise you and your littles will not go hungry. There are also drink stations (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) located throughout the festival area.
You and your family can enjoy local favorites such as Chubby Carrier, Dyer County, The Good Dudes, and more on the six stages throughout Downtown. With talent from all over the world, I also recommend checking out some bands you may not have heard of before! All of the music is family friendly and unique to any other festival you might attend this year.
Special for parents
This year, First United Methodist Church will be offering a FREE lactation room and baby changing station from Friday through Sunday. If you and your littles need to get out of the heat to be changed or to feed/pump, this is a great place to mark on your maps.
From 11 AM – 4 PM Saturday and Sunday of Festival, your kids will love the Louisiana Healthcare Connections Scène des Jeunes area. Located off the beaten path near the Cathedral of St. John, this kid-focused area has performances, hands-on activities, and the first ever relaxation area, known as Zone Détente – a sensory-friendly space for people to rest, refresh, and decompress before enjoying more of the Festival.
What to bring from home
Festival International is free to attend. Please support the festival by buying food and drinks (and a t-shirt or two) from the vendors to help keep it free! Now, when packing the bag to head Downtown, here is what is on my list:
- Diapers and wipes (for the kiddos who need it)
- Hats (all about that sunblocking)
- Change of clothes for the kiddos. There is a splash pad in Parc Sans Souci that is usually a big hit, so a change of clothes can’t hurt.
- Water bottles for the littles (refills available at beverage tents)
- Your RFID wristband
- Baby carrier/stroller/wagon (fair warning, the streets can get crowded quickly. Mind your step)
- Picnic blankets/chairs. Some stages have ample room for seating.
- Portable fans if you have them. It can get warm out!
Parking: When it comes to getting to festival, there are a few options. Many families opt for the Festival Shuttle that runs from Cajun Field (which provides ample parking) directly to Downtown. Parking is $15/car with shuttle service every 15 minutes. Others might venture to nearby neighborhoods for parking options, but availability is very limited. For those who wish to bike, you can park your bicycle for FREE at the main library on the corner of Rue Bibliotheque and Congress Street.
Payment: RFID wristbands are the easiest, hassle-free option for purchasing festival food, drinks, and merch. Rather than hunting down an ATM or digging for my wallet in my diaper bag, payment is easily accessible on my wrist. You can pickup your free wristband at Parish Ink Downtown or even use previous years’ wristbands. Easy peasy.
Map: If you’re like me and want a visual for the layout of festival, here’s an easy link to the map. You can also download the Festival International app on your phone for all the info you need to know.