LAFAYETTE — The Cajun Heartland State Fair has been entertaining families from all across Acadiana for nearly three decades.
Twenty-eight years, to be exact, said Cajundome marketing director Heidi Champagne, and the event remains a family-friendly staple in the Lafayette area.
“Many of the people that come were brought here as children,” Champagne said. “They remember that, and they now bring their own children.”
The 11-day event wraps up this weekend at the grounds and parking areas of the Cajundome. Visitors will notice a few changes when they walk around. In addition to having six inflatables and restroom access inside the convention center, there are still the traditional rides and game booths, provided by North American Midway Entertainment. There’s the giant Ferris wheel, Crazy Mouse and Mega Drop rides.
However, the big difference is the layout.
Due to a renovation project at the Cajundome, organizers were forced to move the Kid’s Corner (such as the petting zoo, pony rides, etc.) to the other side of the event space. That forced relocation may have revealed a better design for the fair.
“The flow and look of the fair is different,” Champagne said. “We haven’t heard anything negative, and we are talking about leaving it this way moving forward.”
The other noticeable change is that live music, featured on the Beer Garden Stage, has returned to the fair after an absence of a few years. Appearing this weekend will be country music acts such as Kylie Frey and Ken Holloway on Saturday night. Mike Dean and Dustin Sonnier are set to perform Sunday night.
“We were actually done with having live music,” Champagne said. “We had taken it away because people just weren’t coming to watch the acts.”
Champagne said the reaction to the first weekend of acts, which included zydeco, honky tonk and even a lip sync battle, were positive, but it’s too early to determine if live music will remain.
“We decided to bring it back this year,” Champagne said. “We haven’t finished our run this year yet, so we haven’t made a decision on whether or not to bring it back again next year.”
Whether it’s music for the grown-ups or kids taking a ride on the Ferris wheel, the Cajun Heartland State Fair has something to offer to all age groups.