Cajun Fest returns to St. Francis after 1-year hiatus
MADISON — St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church has been hosting Cajun Fest and celebrating families coming together with the community for three decades.
This year's event will be from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 3 on the church grounds at 4000 W. Tidewater Lane.
Father Albeenreddy Vatti of St. Francis said Cajun Fest is a celebration of families coming together with their community.
In addition to bringing families together, Cajun Fest, also celebrates not only the history of the parish but also members of the parish and the many diverse cultures from which they come.
After being reduced to a virtual raffle last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vatti said the parish wanted to bring the event back on Oct. 3 as big as possible while staying safe.
The festival begins at 11:30 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. While Cajun Fest is usually held annually in May, the pandemic delayed it to October this year.
“Cajun Fest has an aspect of fundraising, but it is mainly families celebrating together and knowing who we are as a parish,” Vatti said.
Vatti, a priest for St. Francis for the past six years, said the family aspect is his favorite part of the festival.
“There are many denominations and cultures that come join us and share the experience,” Vatti said. “We want all members of the community to come together and get to know one another.”
Vatti said the festival this year is no different from years past, besides the event being on a smaller scale.
“I think people will respond to the festival this year well, and we’re positive that people will be safe since everything is outdoors this year,” he said. “Since it’s an outdoor event, we are not asking people to wear masks, but we recommend families bring their chairs and spread out safely on the grounds since we all want to be in a safe environment.”
Mike Robinson, a chairman of the Cajun Fest Committee, said he encourages everyone to come out and enjoy the company of friends and family and let the cares of the last couple of years go for a little while.
“It’ll be a good time for everyone, and we want people to relax and have fun,” Robinson said. “We’re hoping the weather will be good, and the Knights of Columbus will be out there cooking as always.”
Robinson said everything at the festival, including food, drinks, and games, costs a certain number of tickets. People can purchase tickets on-site at the festival for $1 each.
He said this year, most of the usual food items are available, including gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp, crawfish etouffee and more.
“We’ll have six games for the kids while following safety: Plinko, Cajun Wheel of Fortune, Ring Toss, Noodle Toss, Duck Pond, and the Cajun Frog Jump,” he said. “We’ll also have music from the band Waylon Thibodeaux and The Cajun Fiddler.”
Robinson said some things from previous Cajun Fests won’t return, such as the human hamster balls, jump houses, and the train ride, due to COVID protocols. Many of the annual vendors are not returning as well.
“We had to scale back this year to keep everyone as safe as possible, but we still wanted it to be big enough for everyone to have a good time,” Robinson said.
He said the yearly raffle is coming back with prizes including a 65-inch TV, jewelry and art pieces.
“Raffle tickets are $5 each and $40 for a pack of 10,” he said. “People should come to sit out in the courtyard, bring their chairs and tents, get some food, and listen to the music.”
For more information about Cajun Fest and St. Francis of Assisi, visit http://www.stfrancismadison.org/.