When Festival International rolls around, Lafayette residents greet each other with smiles, saying, Happy Festival. Theres a lot of be happy about.
 The five-day, community-based, non-profit arts-driven festival celebrates the French culture of South Louisiana by honoring our own and those of many other countries, such as Africa, France, Canada and the Caribbean, to name only a few. Best of all, the more than 100 musical performances on five stages and throughout the festival grounds is free!
     You must see our world-renowned festival to believe it. In addition to the world music, theres arts and crafts, a world market, special events from theater to parades and fabulous food. Its why Festival International won Best World Music Festival in About.coms World Music Readers Choice Awards for two years running!
    Heres a primer on how to best enjoy Festival International de Louisiane April 24-28, 2013. Happy Festival!
1.    Festival always happens the last weekend in April which means its highly likely to be warm and sunny. Dont leave home without sunscreen, sunglasses and/or a hat. An umbrella tote comes in handy as well. And if you dont have any of the above items, all can be found at Festival stalls.
2.    Speaking of hats, Festival celebrates creativity so if youve been waiting for a good time to wear your favorite albeit outrageous hat go for it! The same applies to clothes. Youre here to have fun!
3.    Festival takes place throughout downtown Lafayette and parking can be an issue. Many people bike to Festival and there are plenty of secure places to park your bike. Also, a handy shuttle is available from nearby Cajun Field, allowing participants to park in a lighted, secure area. Both parking and the shuttle are free.
 4.    Things allowed include collapsible chairs, blankets and fun items such as hulla hoops (these were so popular last year!) Things not allowed include pets, ice chests, tents, carts and the like.
5.    This is a family friendly event so bring everyone. Daytime activities are more relaxed with nighttime concerts more crowded; something to consider.
    For more information, visit http://www.festivalinternational.com.