Festival overcrowding, Crowd control: Part 2

Here's the final part of “Festival overcrowding, Crowd control”

Oh what a difference a decade makes, or make that several decades.

The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival was once located in downtown Breaux Bridge along Main Street since its establishment in 1960. As the crowds grew, by 1983 organizers moved the festival's location to Parc Hardy. The reason: safety and crowd control.

In the video above, you can see what Festival International was like in the 1990's. With the large numbers this year, organizers say downtown Lafayette is this festival's home.

“We've seen the crowds kind of creeping up over these last few years and it makes us have to re-think how can we move this or that to accommodate to help that traffic flow,” said Festival International's executive director Dana Baker

Baker says these growing pains keep everyone in constant communication, along with the Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Lafayette Unlimited and business owners.

“How can we improve it. How can we make it better so it doesn't feel like it's too many people,” said Baker. And while Baker does not have final numbers on attendance just yet; it appears this year will document record crowds, which according to Baker means more creative thinking to keep this thriving festival in the location where it all began.

“That expansion is north, south, east, west. The sky is really the limit, “We been downtown from the very beginning and downtown is just as much a part of who festival is as we are of it.”

Baker says it is a full time, year round effort to keep Festival free, family friendly and in the heart of the Hub City an effort well worth it.

So even with larger crowds, they are staying put especially given the fact that the reason Festival was created in the first place was to help economic development downtown. In fact, Baker says to keep it downtown she encourages teamwork amongst everyone involved. Baker says, see ya next year, same place, same time. Festival International runs the third week of April each year.

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