International Acadian Festival proclaimed 'a huge success' by Knights of Columbus

The 2018 Evangeline, Grace Sanchez, arrives by canoe to represent the Longfellow character's arrival at Bayou Plaquemine.

Despite a touch of foul weather Saturday during this past weekend's 50th annual International Acadian Festival, organizers say the event was very successful.

The money raised by the festival goes to its founding organization, Plaquemine's Knights of Columbus Council 970.

"We'd like to thank the community for coming out and supporting a good cause," said Jimmy Hebert, the festival organizing committee chairman. His father, the late Gary Hebert, conceived the idea in the late 1960s and the first festival was held in 1969. 

Reigning as Evangeline over that first festival half a century ago was Cindy Evans, who would later change her last name to Dickerson after marrying not long after her term as the festival's queen.

"This year's Acadian Festival was a huge success," Hebert said, despite a rainy start tto Saturday's festivities. The festival began with a blessing of the festival grounds Friday evening and continued through Sunday night.

"Because we got the rain Saturday, it held the crowd deown some but it was still a pretty good crowd, considering the weather," Hebert said.

"We had as good a Friday as we've ever had and Sunday was probably better than any other Sunday we've had," he continued.

Hebert said te money raised by the event goes to the Knights of Columbus and "all of it goes back into the community with the charitable work the council does."

The festival was highlighted by Saturday's Water Ceremony, during which the Indian princesses are introduced to the public during a canoe ride down Bayou Plaquemine and capped off with the symbolic arrival of Evangeline. 

This year's Evangeline is Grace Sanchez, who will make a multitude of appearances over the course of the upcoming year at other festivals across the state and many local events in Plaquemine and at others in Iberville Parish.