LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The holiday tradition Noel Acadien Au Village comes to a close Wednesday, Dec. 23. The month-long fundraiser has made multiple changes to continue during a pandemic.
You’ll see more masks than mistletoe and more sanitize than Santa Clause, but it didn’t keep people from having a great time. Even if less people could participate than in years past.
As Noel Coordinator Karon Davis put it, “Everybody is taking a hit this year, and nonprofits are no exception.”
The Grinch hasn’t stolen Christmas or rather the coronavirus hasn’t, but the previously unlimited fun at Acadian Village, now has a cap.
Only 1200 people can be on the 10 acres at any given time. To adjust, tickets must be bought online which has periodically sold out. No tickets are sold at the gate. A lack of volunteers caused the event to close three days straight (Dec. 14th-16th).
“It breaks your to tell somebody and there is little kids, and (say) ‘We just can’t,” David said. “We can’t control it that way.”
Because of the pandemic, the nights are broken into two sessions: 5:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M. and one from 7:30 P.M.-9:30 P.M. There is a 30 minute cleaning period in between.
Many people Monday felt like Lane LaCombe and her family, saying they need a little Christmas right this very moment.
“After having a lockdown and not being able to go out, it’s been really freeing,” LaCombe said. “I think everybody is still having a great time even though we have to wear the masks and be spaced out.”
The best part and perhaps the worst part is that all the proceeds that are collected and could have been collected go directly back to programs assisting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
That is the primary reason Stephanie Dousay attended. She said, “That is just so important to me because we understand what it is like to have special needs in our family.” Dousay brought her grandson who gets around in a wheelchair with her.
For the needs of the many and the few, Davis said they had to find a way in 2020. “Acadiana needed to have this. We just needed to do it in a safe way,” Davis said.
In addition to this Christmas fundraiser LARC believes they might also take a hit around Mardi Gras season as they resell used beads then.