Louisiana town captures spirit of Cajun festival

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LAFAYETTE -- Vermilionville, a 23-acre living history museum located here, will mark its 10th anniversary in 2000.

The Acadian flag.The property is dedicated to the re-creation of the Acadian- Creole life between about 1765 and 1890.

"We offer guided tours daily, live Cajun music daily, a Cajun-Creole restaurant, gift shop, bakery and art gallery," said Kristi Bille, the museum's marketing coordinator.

Cooking demonstrations also are conducted on a daily basis, and there are craftspeople and artisans on site every day. "Vermilionville also offers a free monthly lecture series and an art exhibit that features a new Acadian artist each month," Bille said.

The lectures are held on the first Wednesday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. On July 7, the topic will be "The Americanization of Cajun Culture"; on Aug. 4, "History of the Acadians," and on Sept. 1, "La Conservation Culturelle et La Louisiane Francophone."

In addition, a "French table" is held monthly, in which visitors and locals speak only French during a luncheon at the on-site restaurant.

"As part of FrancoFete events throughout the state, Vermilionville this month is hosting the Chestee Harrington traveling exhibit," Bille said. Titled "Esprit de la Louisiane," it includes pieces created specifically in honor of the 300th anniversary theme.

Other exhibits scheduled include one by George Rodrigue that is yet to be titled but is set for July 12; "Acadie Nord et Sud" (Acadiana North and South) by Phillip Gould & Dolores Breau, set for Aug. 9, and "From the Prairies of Southwest Louisiana" by Elemore Morgan Jr., Sept. 13.

Since many of the visitors to Vermilionville come from international markets -- particularly France, Canada and Germany -- it offers French and German materials and programming, Bille said. About 65% of the staff speak French fluently.

Admission to the attraction is $8 for adults, $6.50 senior citizens and $5 for children ages 6 to 18.

Vermilionville

Phone: (800) 99BAYOU or (318) 233-4077

Web: www.vermilionville.org

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