festival international de louisiane

The annual Festival International de Louisiane took place in downtown Lafayette from April 25-29. I love almost everything about Festival, especially the amount of green craft vendors that attend to sell their pieces.

Many of the jewelry vendors that are at Festival create their pieces from recycled materials. A few years ago, I found a great necklace made from a melted bullet. The jewelry above is made from recycled metal. 

UP/Unique Products is based out of New Orleans. I've visited their store on Magazine Street a few times, and their tent at Festival a few years ago. I found a bowl made of melted Mardi Gras beads. If there's one thing Louisiana has a surplus of, it's Mardi Gras beads. And this company has found a way to reuse them. They also make lighting fixtures that resemble sea creatures. The shirt in the photo is made of organic cotton and soft drink bottles. I can vouch that it is one of the softest shirts you'll find. The bags shown are made of old JazzFest vinyl banners.

This year saw a green addition, the featured pRECYCLE Machine. The bicycle was developed by UL Lafayette industrial design students, and was supported by Keep Lafayette Beautiful, the Recycling Foundation, and Greenroom. Powered by someone pedaling, the machine uses no resources while crushing cans to be recycled. Recycling is more cost effective when recyclables are shipped directly to the plants from the site, eliminating costly transfer processing.As you can see at the bottom, many cans were saved from the trash and are ready to be made into something new!

It's great to see more green initiatives coming to Festival International. This is one of the biggest events for Lafayette, and it's important to keep downtown Lafayette from becoming a trash heap. Besides recycling, this year, we took our bicycles to Festival, which helped us avoid parking issues, save gas and emissions and helped us get some extra exercise. Along with that, I used both of my Klean Kanteens to carry water and beer/margaritas.

With the hundreds of thousands of people who descend upon the area for four days, each act of green counts. If we destroy downtown, we also destroy the Festival.

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