Despite the rainy weather, a few hundred people dressed in cowboy boots and hats piled into Parc Sans Souci to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Downtown Alive! last Friday.
The event marked the first DTA! of the season and hosted Jaryd Lane, a country singer and songwriter. Lane performed his original songs from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. while the crowd danced and sang along.
“This is something my family and I count down the days to every year,” said Matthew Frederick, a Lafayette resident who has attended DTA! for the past six years.
To begin the night, DTA! Happiest Hour, hosted by Pats Downtown, started at 5 p.m. for guests to enjoy drink specials including their signature 360 Vodka Jell-O shots. The DTA! “Official After Party” was also hosted by Pat’s Downtown immediately after the main event. Schilling Distributing Company lined up three beer trucks on East Vermilion Street and served an array of beer, wine and liquor. Potty Girl brought four portable toilets for the guests to use throughout the night while C’est Bon Manger Food Truck served hamburgers for five tickets each. As Lane performed, children of all ages were personally entertained by Lafayette Public Library, MLR Magic and Itz Pop-A-Licious.
“I enjoy DTA! so much because I get to have fun and so do my children. Everyone starts the weekend off on a happy note,” said Julie Thibodeaux, a frequent DTA! concertgoer.
Downtown Lafayette and Festival International workers and volunteers set up tents, banners, tables and trashcans around the entire park. Each tent had a designated sign: DTA! Kids, merchandise, tickets and bar. The tables had signs explaining what was being sold and how much it cost. For example, guests could purchase tickets for a dollar each. The craft beer was six tickets, Coca-Cola products were three and merchandise ranged from 10-20 tickets.
DTA! began in 1983 when a group of residents wanted to bring life into downtown Lafayette, according to an article by KLFY News. As the years went on, Downtown Alive! got bigger and attracted more people. Downtown Lafayette has recently partnered with Children’s Museum of Acadiana, Lafayette Science Museum and Lafayette Public Library. The newest addition to DTA! is a partnership with Uber.
Marie Centanni, president of Downtown Lafayette Unlimited, said in the article, “There will be an official Uber pick up and drop off zone at each park and first time riders will get a discount if they’re going to Downtown Alive!.”
Every DTA! is funded and supported by local sponsors such as, Lafayette Coca-Cola, Lafayette Utilities System (LUS), Festival International de Louisiane, Super 1 Foods, Delta Media Corporation, Harley-Davidson and Townsquare Media.