Running on Empty officially releases Tuesday! In this excerpt, Grace and Gabe take a trip away from Bon Chance, and visit Lafayette, La for Festival Acadiens. This festival celebrates local Cajun music, and is actually one of my favorite festivals. It was fun to write this scene, and I loved being able to share this event with my readers.
The sounds of the fiddle and accordion rang out from the multiple stages set up in the Lafayette park, and the spicy scents of Cajun cooking filled the air. Festival Acadiens was underway. Locals had set up colorful tents and canopies around the perimeter of the park, most sporting the red pepper Ragin’ Cajun mascot. They were an oasis to rest and cool off after spending hours of dancing and drinking in the hot October sun. Kids tossed footballs back and forth. Couples lay on blankets spread out on the grass.
Gabe snagged a music schedule and they found a place away from the crowd to look it over. Grace pointed out bands she wanted to see, and they put together a schedule for the day.
“Geno Delafosse plays in half an hour. You want to go ahead and go to that stage? I know he draws a crowd,” Gabe said.
“Sure,” she agreed.
As they approached the stage, Grace saw that Gabe had been right, there was already a small crowd beginning to gather. Some had already begun to dance to the music playing from the loudspeakers as the band set up.
“Want something to drink while we wait?” Gabe asked after they found a good spot off to the side of the stage.
“I would love something. How about a lemonade from one of those spots we passed earlier?”
“Sounds great. Wait here, and I’ll be right back.”
While she waited, she took in the sights and sounds.She didn’t go to Lafayette often, but always loved it when she visited. The people were friendly. They’d start talking to you in line at the grocery store, and before long, they knew where you were from, where you were going, and who your family was. Several people had already nodded to her in greeting as she stood there waiting for Gabe to return.
She tapped her feet to the lively beat, unable to resist. “Wanna dance, cher?” The guy standing in front of her appeared to be in his sixties, face leathery from sun. He wore a gimme hat from a local oilfield company. He was about a foot shorter than she was and absolutely precious. Grace nodded and took his hand.