Shake a trail feather

by Wynce Nolley

Bayou Teche gets the festival treatment this Saturday with the Shake Your Trail Feather Festival at Parc des Ponts in Breaux Bridge.

The third annual Shake Your Trail Feather Festival returns this weekend to Breaux Bridge to promote a cleaner, greener Bayou Teche with music, food, panel discussions and bike and paddle trails all designed to raise awareness on just how important the Bayou Teche is to the environment and the community at large.

"The festival is a celebration of the national paddle trail and a fundraiser for the TECHE Project," says Patti Holland with the TECHE Project, a non-profit organization that raises awareness of the ecological, cultural and historical values of the Bayou Teche. "It's free, but we ask that people come out and support us and buy a festival pin and our merchandise and become members (of the TECHE Project)."

Shake Your Trail Feather features live musical performances from the likes of David Greely and Megan Brown, Soul Creole and Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie. The festival also features a Heritage Stage where several historical and cultural interviews will be taking place along with panel discussions from local historians on the influence of wars on bayou life.

The Heritage Stage will also offer Art of Bousillage demonstrations showing how building materials were made for structures along Bayou Teche. And closing out on the Heritage Stage will be a Cajun style acoustic music set performed by the talented students from the nearby St. Bernard School.

The TECHE Project is also partnering with T.R.A.I.L. to host the first annual Trail Feathers bike event in the morning before the festival where cyclists will have the option to get out and paddle the last segment of the course while being escorted by a floating Cajun band.

"It's a combined bike ride and paddle," explains Holland. "They stop at Poche Bridge and from Poche Bridge to Breaux Bridge, we have a paddle that we call the Paddle to the Party. It's actually a party in itself because there's a floating pontoon that they paddle with and it's going to have a Cajun band on it. So it's going to be like a parade going down the bayou."

There will be several artisans on site as well selling their wares alongside TECHE Project members and partner orgainzations including the Sierra Club, Leave No Trace, T.R.A.I.L., Bike Lafayette, Tour du Teche and the Acadian Memorial Foundation, who will be on hand to provide educational information and demonstrations about the various projects taking place on Bayou Teche. Pack and Paddle will also be on hand to raffle off one of its kayaks at $3 a ticket.

Shake Your Trail Feather takes place on Saturday, Oct. 18, from noon until 6 p.m., at Parc des Ponts in Breaux Bridge. While admission to the festival is free, the TECHE Project encourages patrons to purchase an official festival pin for $5 to help support the Bayou Teche. For more information on participating in the Paddle to the Party bike/kayak event email [email protected], and for more information the TECHE Project visit www.techeproject.org.