“It’s amazing,” Desirea Vicknair, a Port Barre Lions Club member, said. “We have, I think we figured out about 5,000 people roughly almost every night once the festival gets kicked off, that come not only from across the united states but the world. Last year we had people from Poland and Finland. We have a lot of people that come through this beautiful town that normally they would never know exists until they come to the festival.”
With the attendance numbers continuing to grow each year, Vicknair said RV parks, hotels and restaurants in the area quickly reach capacity during this all important weekend. But the benefits of the crowds don’t stop with the businesses, the Lions Club runs several foundations that are able to thrive thanks to the money raised at the festival.
“We have the Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation that does screening and helps people out that don’t have insurance,” Vicknair said. “Then we also have our biggest one that is our kid’s camp, a camp that is in Leesville. It’s for children that have disabilities.”
With so many businesses and organizations benefiting from the festival, Vicknair said the Lions Club takes pride in the work that goes into putting the festival together; and meeting all the people that support this small town’s big dream.
“It’s everywhere, it spiders out and it helps everybody, which is beautiful,” Vicknair said. “A lot of people don’t see that aspect of it, so we love spreading the word because a lot of people even from the town don’t realize what kind of impact it has on them on a daily basis.”
Although there were a lot of people out there on this opening night, there’s still plenty of room for anyone else that wants to come listen to some music and eat some of those cracklins.
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