Country Mardi Gras comes to town; and other Around Acadiana items for Jan. 26, 2016 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Billy Gunn, clockwise from top left, Richard Burgess, Lanie Cook and Marsha Sills

Experience the simplicity of holidays past on Tuesday and Wednesday at Vermilionville in Lafayette, where visitors will see firsthand some of the Christmas and New Year’s traditions from the 1700s and 1800s.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors may take a self-guided tour with a special program to meet educators who demonstrate traditions like soap- and candle-making, blacksmithing, creating natural decorations and making santons, or “little saints.”

Storytelling, carolling and snacks are part of the experience, along with a visit from Papa Noël — the French Santa Claus.

Vermilionville is located at 300 Fisher Road. For information, call (337) 233-4077.

Paddlers invited to guided trip

Paddlers aiming to improve their novice experience on the water are invited on Saturday to an intermediate-level canoe and kayak lesson and guided paddle trip on Bayou Vermilion.

The class will reinforce safety and stability techniques needed to get in and out of a canoe or kayak and will cover a few more advanced paddle strokes to better manipulate the vessel. A motorized safety vessel will follow the group to provide added security.

Registration is $10 per person. The lesson begins at 8 a.m.

For information or to register, contact or call (337) 769-7283.

Wild things at Chicot

Visit Chicot State Park in Ville Platte on Saturday to learn about nature in the park, including mammals, reptiles, birds and native plants, among other topics.

The program, by the park’s on-site naturalist, begins at 10 a.m.

For information, contact the park at (337) 363-6289 or toll-free at (888) 677-6100.

Concealed carry course open

The St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office will host a concealed carry course on Jan. 8-9 in St. Martinville.

Registration fees for the nine-hour course are $120 for individuals or $100 per person for groups registering three or more people at once.

Training is scheduled at the St. Martin Parish Training Academy, 1815 Terrace Highway, on Friday, Jan. 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Iberia Parish Shooting Range.

Registrants must be age 21 years or older.

To register or receive information, contact Kyra Cole at or contact the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office at (337) 394-2532.

Submit items to Acadiana bureau chief Richard Burgess at or by fax to (337) 269-0410. Follow The Acadiana Advocate on Twitter, @theadvocateaca.