Lori’s Best of the Bayou Update-8/6/12

(As seen in FOCUS, the monthly newsletter of the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce and distributed via The Houma Courier)

It’s that time again – the time of year where the sun is setting on those lazy summer days and many folks are preparing for the hustle and bustle of “back-to-school.” It’s been anything but a ‘lazy summer’ for Best of the Bayou, and with the festival only two short months away, there is so much to report!

First and foremost, I am extremely happy to announce that the inaugural festival will be presented with the help of one of the bayou’s very best — Rouses Markets.  Rouses is confirmed as the festival’s presenting sponsor. In the fifty-plus years since the opening of their first grocery store in Houma, Rouses has expanded to nearly 40 stores and 5,400 team members. And they’ve become more than just a household name here in Louisiana – they have gained national recognition for their success, and been named one of the top independent grocers in the country. Rouses is the perfect title partner, and we look forward to working with them to help put Houma and the entire bayou region on the map of must-see destinations in Louisiana.

I’d like to take a moment to also give praise to a few other sponsors we’ve secured thus far—starting with Pepsi, who has signed on to be our official soft drink of the festival. An array of Pepsi-brand beverages will be on hand at the festival. Thanks to Buquet Distributing and Voodoo BBQ & Grill in Houma, the festival will include a special area for our beloved sports fanatics! A festival “sports bar,” to be located inside the Mardi Gras Bingo Hall on Main Street, will provide an indoor retreat for folks to catch the big weekend games i.e. LSU and Saints. Adult beverages and Voodoo BBQ will be available for sale inside the hall. Kids are certainly welcome there, but they too will have a spot to call their own. Chevron has partnered with us to present the BayouLand Kids Korner, which will be set near the festival marketplace. The details are not yet finalized.

As we’ve mentioned before, our “Friends of the Festival” are also important to us! This program allows for individuals and small businesses to support the festival for as little as $50. Donors receive individual perks at all levels up to $1000. EVERY donation counts as we strive to not only bring this new and exciting and FREE event to our region, but keep it around for years to come.

Moving on, we’ve opened the application process for artists and craftspeople wanting to showcase and sell their work at the festival. The planned arts-walk or marketplace, of approximately 150 booths, will be nestled in the heart of the fest, around Belanger and Roussell Streets near what’s known as the Ledet Building. Additional booths will be located by Whitney Bank and possibly outward to Main Street, too, depending on the number of qualified applicants to the festival. Only original art and handmade crafts will be allowed for sale. Rental includes a 10×10 space (vendors must provide their own tents) and vendors will collect 100% of their sales. Complete details on how to apply can be found on the festival’s website at bestofthebayou.org, as well as through the Gulf Coast Marketplace/Options for Independence in Houma at thegulfcoastmarketplace.org. GCM is a virtual festival featuring an array of works by regional artists and craftsmen. Due to this already-established network of vendors, Best of the Bayou has partnered with these agencies to help process applications and manage all marketplace vendors on-site.

The festival is still looking for food vendors as well.  The initial deadline of July 31 to rent space has been extended to August 15. As a reminder, tents will be provided at no extra cost, along with limited use of electricity. Vendors may sell up to four items and will collect 100% of their sales. We ask that anyone interested in reserving a booth, be it a restaurant, professional caterer or non-profit organization, please visit the festival’s website or call the Houma Chamber office at 985-876-5600 as soon as possible.

Since my last bulletin, we’ve unveiled the winning artwork chosen to be the official poster of the inaugural festival.  The artwork, an untitled painting, was created by Susan Shaffer of Schriever and depicts a guitar-man on Main Street, blended with familiar images of downtown.  Shaffer’s painting was one of eleven entries in the contest, which was open to all bayou region artists, ages 16 and up.  The poster will be available for sale on site at the festival, with all proceeds going to the Best of the Bayou Foundation.  The remaining entries will be on display during the festival inside the Terrebonne Fine Arts Guild downtown.

In a final bit of good news, all bands are booked for the 2012 festival.  In all, 24 bands will play the fess–that’s non-stop for two days on two stages! The lineup merges national, regional and local bands in genres of swamp pop, rock, blues, funk and more! The entire lineup and complete stage(s) schedule will be released soon. In the meantime, please check out the festival’s website and Facebook for more info on the festival bands.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s