The Acadian Festival began in 1969 as a way to commemorate the area's unique history and to celebrate the lives of the Acadian people who sought refuge in Louisiana.

The 51st International Acadian Festival was held in Plaquemine from October 18 through 20. The festival included numerous activities including rides, live music, and the traditional Evangeline water ceremony.

The Acadian Festival began in 1969 as a way to commemorate the area's unique history and to celebrate the lives of the Acadian people who sought refuge in Louisiana.

The annual Evangeline water ceremony celebrates that history through the eyes of a young woman named Emmeline LaBiche who travelled through the area now known as Plaquemine in search of her lover, Louis Arceneaux.

This year, the title of Miss Evangeline was passed on to Lillie Bradford. The princesses, dressed in Native American costumes, led the ceremony in canoes before Bradford arrived dressed in the traditional Miss Evangeline costume.

Bradford said she remembers watching her predecessors take the same canoe ride at the Acadian Festival. She says it is exciting to see the younger generation watching her, as she hopes to be a role model for them.

"She [Evangeline] represents a role model. That's how I look at her – to be a role model for younger girls. And to the people of Plaquemine to stay true to your town and your faith," Bradford said.

The rest of the festival events included live bands each day, numerous rides for children, and adults, and several different tournaments.

On Sunday, the Acadian Festival Parade route went from the Carl Grant Civic Center back to the festival site at the Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park.

The weather this weekend was ideal for the festival as well.

"The weather is cooperating beautifully for us, and that's a major ingredient in our success," Mayor Edwin Reeves said.