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Cajun Fest - peace, love & gumbo for 33 years

Special to the Courier

Once again, it's time to celebrate ¬- as the French would say - "la joie de vivre" and "laissez les bon temps rouler" at the 33rd annual Medina Lake Cajun Festival Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Lakehills Civic Center on Park Road 37. Rated the best festival of its kind in Texas, this traditional event has received state and national recognition for its authentic Cajun food and finest Louisiana bands, as well as for the ever-popular gumbo cook-off. Each year, the one-day event attracts thousands of visitors.
The entertainment line-up offers the best of traditional French Cajun and Zydeco music. Two performance pavilions, each with dance floors, offer non-stop music throughout the day and into the night. The schedule for the "Fais Do Do Pavilion" includes:
• 11 am - Introductions
• 11 am - 12:45 pm, Band-Aids Jazz Band, Dixieland Jazz
• 12:15 pm, Medina Lake Second Line Dancers, sponsored by Karen Ripley Real Eastate Management
• 1-3 pm - Briggs Brown and the Bayou Cajuns, a group of very talented young musicians Cajun Country, Eunice, playing traditional Cajun-French music. In 2009, the Cajun French Music Association nominated this group for "Band of the Year" and "Best First CD."
• 3:10-5:15 pm - Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners; known as "the Jewel of the Bayou," Leroy Thomas, is one of the most gifted, versatile and dynamic musicians on the Zydeco scene. This is his second appearance at the festival!
• 5:15-5:45 pm - Great Gumbo Cook-off awards
• 5:50-7:50 pm - Briggs Brown and the Bayou Cajuns with a short lesson on Cajun dancin' for kids at 5:50 pm
• 8-10 pm - Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners
Continuous entertainment on the "Gazebo Stage" includes:
• 10:50 am-1 pm - Cher La Bas, a San Antonio-based band that plays full-fledged, authentic, dance-style, Louisiana-inspired Cajun music. • 1:15-3 pm - Jean-Pierre and the Zydeco Angels; Jean-Pierre moved to Lafayette, Louisiana from France where he originally learned to play Zydeco music. His traditional style of Zydeco features different beats and rhythms.
• 3:15-5:15 pm - Steve Bing and the Bayou Hot Shots; playing for the first time at this festival, this group hails from Baton Rouge. They play the best of what defines the spicy gumbo sound of Louisiana with a pinch of traditional Cajun music from the bayous.
• 5:30-7:45 pm - Jean-Pierre and the Zydeco Angels
• 7:50- 10 pm - Steve Bing and the Bayou Hot Shots
King Gumbo is represented at the "Great Gumbo Cookoff" with amateur, professional and culinary student divisions. For food lovers, another attraction is the wondrous homemade Cajun fare prepared from scratch by hard-working volunteers. The festival also features arts and crafts; games and souvenirs; a free shuttle service with parking at satellite lots; handicap parking at the grounds, which are accessible to wheelchairs and motorized scooters; special motorcycle parking; and convenient ATM machines.
All proceeds from the Medina Lake Cajun Festival benefit the Medina Lake Betterment Association, Inc., a nonprofit community civic organization. Admission is $10 per person with children ages 10 years and under admitted free.
Advance tickets are $8 each and available until Sunday, Sept. 14, by calling 210- 683-1917 and asking for John.
For more information, visit www.cajunfestival-medinalake.com.
And remember, the festival will take place rain or shine, according to an event spokesman. "In case of rain, bring an umbrella. If the sun is shinin', forget the umbrella and just bring your appetite and dancin' shoes!"

Pictured: Photo by Judith Pannebaker
Cajun gators, Dakota Lopez and Melissa McLarry, both of Lakehills, caused comments on the dance floor during last year's Medina Lake Cajun Fest. The 2013 Hommage de Arcadien, will take place Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Lake Hills Civic Center. For more information, visit