LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – For the first time since 2019, Festival International de Louisiane is in full swing in downtown Lafayette. Festival attendees and artists say they’re so excited to finally be back after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s good to be out of the house, that’s all I can say. It’s just great to be out the house, the vibe, just connecting with people from the area. It’s like we’re seeing cousins we haven’t seen in a while. Everything is back open, and the festival is back. I’m enjoying it, every bit of it,” one man said.

“I used to come here all the time since I was little, so it’s super fun to be back, especially because I started college when the pandemic started. I haven’t been here since then,” a UL student chimed in.

While locals may only have to travel ten minutes to the festival, people from across the country are here, including a couple who came all the way from North Carolina.

“Well, I like the Zydeco music, and I’ve been to the festival many years ago, hadn’t been back. So I wanted to come back and hear all of the great music. It’s grown considerably since the last time I was here, but I’m looking forward to the Zydeco dancing most of all,” the man said.

“We did do a tour of the booths, and I’m really impressed with the artwork, the vendors, and the food and the drinks,” his wife added.

If North Carolina was far enough to travel, Abdou Niang came all the way from West Africa.

“We’ve been coming here the last 15 years. We just missed it for two years. We didn’t come 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic. I think we’re going to have a good weekend. That’s what we’re looking for,” Niang said.

If you haven’t caught any of these festivities, Festival International will be going on for the rest of the weekend in downtown Lafayette.