There are always moments and surprises at Festivals Acadiens et Creoles.
At high noon Sunday on Salle de Danse, yet another unexpected and emotional moment played out as the Daiquiri Queens saluted women's contributions to Cajun and Creole music as part of this year's festival theme.
The band's guitarists/vocalists Miriam McCracken and Jamie Lynn Fontenot wanted to play tribute to musician Dale Dugas and decided to incorporate some of her songs into the set list. They also came on stage wearing tops with Dugas' image.
What they didn't know was that Dugas, who recently went into remission after a battle with lung cancer, had decided to attend the show.
"It's amazing," Dugas said, who has lived in Gulf Breeze, Florida, for the past 21 years. "I didn't know about it, and they didn't know I was coming in.
"So, it's a miracle."
Dugas' cousin Donny Richard had read about his cousin and the Daiquiri Queens and alerted the family via Facebook. Family members showed up in force.
"Come to find out, Dale was in town," Richard said. "She knew nothing about this article. It's just incredible to honor her like this.
"It's coincidence how it all came together. Our family is touched. It's very emotional for us."
Daiquiri Queens drummer Chelsea Moosekian said hearing that Dugas would be in the house was "a very good surprise," she said. "We wanted to play them the best we can for Dale. It's been great."
Daiquiri Queens fiddler Tysman Charpentier agreed.
"Having her here — it all worked out so perfectly — it's a beautiful thing. It's amazing," Charpentier said. "It couldn't have been a better gift, for us and for her, I think."
Like so many Cajun musicians, Dugas had a day job in the oilfield.
"I worked seven (days on) and seven (days off) and then 14 and 14," Dugas said. "So, on your time off, you have all the time you want."
And, like a lot of Cajun musicians, music runs in her family. Her inspirations were Belton Richard, Johnnie Allan and her brothers Jimmy and Ricky Dugas. Richard and the Dugas' grandmothers were sisters; Damon Troy is her nephew.
"My grandmother on my mother's side was actually an accordion player," said Dale Dugas. "And all of her brothers were musicians. My mom and dad met on a bandstand.
"So, it's in the blood."
As they did before the set, Dugas went back stage and met with the Daiquiri Queens.
"You all sounded awesome," Dugas told the band.
Then Dugas and the band, smiles across the board, posed for pictures.
"It was fantastic. What a special day," said DQ bassist Sabra Guzman. "Meeting Dale and just talking with her before we played and just getting to meet some of her family members. I think they were all kind of tearing up."
Just another festival moment.