Festival International de Louisiane 2012 concludes this evening.  I seriously doubted I would be able to attend, much less do volunteer duty as Kathy and I have the last few years.  With open-heart surgery nine weeks ago I really was concerned I might have problems putting in a three-hour shift.

Just to ease into the activities I went downtown Friday afternoon just to get in my 30-minute walk and get the “lay of the land”.  Instead I walked for two hours, took some great photos, talked to old friends and met new friends.  Friday night we went back and enjoyed great music and great weather.  Capping the evening off with Gary Clark Jr. was a great way to prime us for Saturday’s volunteer day.

We got to the volunteer tent at 10:15am, checked in, changed into our Festival shirts and headed to the Scene Popeye stage at Parc International.  Near the end of our three hour shift selling beverage tickets we were asked to pull an extra shift from 5:00 until 8:00pm due to a shortage of volunteers.  We agreed to return and got a great meal from the artist hospitality tent as a reward.  After a great meal we listened to more great music and returned for another great shift and I survived!

What makes Festival worthwhile for us is meeting great people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe.  I spoke to people from Lafayette, Eunice, Scott, London, Hamburg and Stuttgart, Germany and a nice gentleman from Breaux Bridge…a recent immigrant from Bethlehem, Israel.  It’s incredible to meet people from Acadiana enjoying Festival for the first time and others from across the planet enjoying their 16th Festival.

The reason we worked the extra shift was due to a shortage of volunteers.  It takes 2000 volunteers to make the Festival happen and it seems we always could use more.  Kathy and I recommend that you volunteer at least three hours of your time next year to help make Festival International de Louisiane 2013 a huge success.  You can even volunteer as a group to get a family or civic group involved.  I assure you it will be a rewarding experience.