Cajun Fest 2023 second line parade. Photo courtesy of Kent Downtown Partnership

Cajun Fest’s second year celebrates all things Louisiana

Hosted by Kent Downtown Partnership.

Louisianan food, music, and Kent collided once again.

The Kent Downtown Partnership hosted its second free-to-the-public annual Cajun Fest at Burlington Green Park in Kent on Saturday, Aug. 19, with about 4,500 attendees, 1,000 more than last year’s Cajun Fest.

The event featured food from Po’Boy & Tings, Dat Creole Soul, Al’s Sausage, The Man BBQ, Where Ya at Matt, The Village Perk, Altha’s Louisiana Cajun Spices, and beer from Logan Brewing. Six bands played throughout the event–Bayou Envie, Too Loose Cajun/Zydeco, Zydeco Locals, Eric “Two Scoops” Moore, and JBLM Military Bigfoot Brass Band.

“It went outstanding. We had a great community turnout. There was outstanding music, lots of great food, great vendors. It was a resounding success. I couldn’t be happier,” Kent Downtown Partnership executive director Gaila Haas said.

Haas said they wanted to bring authenticity to the event, so they coordinated with Neil Robinson, the owner of Altha’s Louisiana Cajun Spices. Haas said Robinson was a big proponent of bringing a Louisianan tradition, the second line parade.

“People really liked the second line parade, and we had the JBLM Big Foot Brass Band, who led that second line flawlessly,” Haas said. “So they came down, and we had a ton of costumes. The second line was a real highlight of the event. People say they really liked participating in that.”

A second line parade has historical Louisianan roots. In a second line parade, everyone participates in the marching. Haas said many Cajun Fest attendees participated in the second line parade, marching around the park with the band.

The only downside of the event, Haas said, was that long lines developed at the Louisianan Trucks because people liked the food. She said they added four new food trucks this year, but despite that, she said that wasn’t enough to prevent long lines at the Louisianan food trucks, which served dishes like catfish. So next year, Haas said they will try and have more food trucks and some quick-serve grab-and-go dishes.

Haas said this year’s event was bigger than ever, and they plan to expand it next year. She said people can stay up to date with the Kent Downtown partnership through their Facebook page.

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