Acadian Culture Day
The community is invited to join the Bayou Vermilion District’s Vermilionville as they celebrate their annual Acadian Culture Day on Sunday, August 13th
from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at their historic village. Every year Vermilionville hosts this free event for the public to explore how the Acadian community
maintains its heritage.
This year’s Acadian Culture Day will focus on "Where We Come From" and the activities planned for the day will include live music by the Huval Dupuy Fuselier Band and Paul Daigle & Cajun Gold, community booths (the New Acadia Project, CODOFIL, the Acadian Memorial, etc.). boat tours and canoeing, a Cajun Jam open to the public and all skill-levels, a sharing circle on "The Birth of Cajun Culture," film showings, cooking demonstrations, kids’ crafts and games as well as demonstrations (musket, trapping, coureurs des bois, fiddle making, etc.) and more. This year's Acadian Culture Day will also honor Mr. Merlin Fontenot, a beloved long-time Vermilionville employee who passed away earlier this year.
Timeline of events TBA.
ABOUT 2017 ACADIAN CULTURE DAY HONOREE MERLIN FONTENOT
At 93 years old, Merlin Fontenot was the oldest member of the Vermilionville family. Merlin was a time-honored master of the Cajun Fiddle and promoter of Acadian culture. He began playing the fiddle when he was only seven years old, but even in his old age said that he was "still learning." He never learned to read music, but learned to play "by ear" as a boy growing up in Eunice, Louisiana. Merlin was a fixture at Cajun dance halls by the age of 15.
Merlin's skill earned him much recognition, having won fiddle championships as far away as Florida, where he performed in front of crowds of more than 15,000 people. He performed twice on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee and was honored as a master musician in a music series presented by Harold Bernard.
Merlin was with Vermilionville for more than twenty years and was been known to draw many returning guests who, years later, requested to see this Cajun legend. He enjoyed playing music and sharing his knowledge of Acadian culture in the school house (l'Ecole), where he engaged young and old visitors alike and encouraged his audience to share in his enthusiasm through participation. Merlin believed there is no place in the world like south Louisiana and said there was no where he would rather be.
Acadian Culture Day is supported by an External Agencies Funding Program grant, sponsored by Lafayette Consolidated Government and administered by the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Additional support comes from Party Central and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.