Rotary meets Viande Boucanee’
Ville Platte Rotary President Peter Strawitz and Rotarian Bob Manuel bookend guests Renee Brown and Samantha Guillory of Viande Boucanee, Inc., who informed the audience that the 25th Annual Louisiana Smoked Meat Festival is set for June 2-3, 2017. (Gazette photo by Tony Marks)
By: TONY MARKS
Bob Manuel presented Renee Brown and Samantha Guillory from Viande Boucanee’, Inc., to the Ville Platte Rotary Club who discussed the 25th Annual Louisiana Smoked Meat Festival that is scheduled for June 2-3, 2017.
“We moved our festival up an entire month,” Brown said. “Everyone’s been asking for a long time to consider this because of the temperature. The weather is extremely hot. Last year when we happened to be working out at the festival grounds at the beginning of June we realized it was actually a little cooler.”
Another thing different about this year’s festival is the location. It will be held under the pavilion where the city pool used to be behind the Civic Center. “It has a beautiful cover on it,” Brown said. “It has big fans underneath it, so this year will be our first time that we were able to utilize that area. So we’re very excited about it.”
Brown also announced that board of directors and Lions Club member Mike Ardoin built a permanent stage to be placed under the pavilion. She said that Ardoin approached the mayor about the idea as the two sides discussed the cooperative endeavor agreement. “We let her know we have a plan to build a beautiful stage that will remain at the pavilion,” said Brown. “Any organization will be able to use it year round, and the mayor agreed if we put in the labor, she will pay the cost of supplies and stuff.”
What has not changed with this year’s festival is the commitment to the veterans especially during opening ceremonies. “We do this festival to honor our veterans that came before us and have brought this beautiful tradition to our city,” Brown said. “So we continue with the honor of giving our veterans a beautiful opening ceremony.”
Guillory highlighted some of the events planned during the opening ceremony that will commerorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. “We have joined a commerative partnership program that allows us to access resources and gifts that can better allow us to recognize our Vietnam War veterans,” she said. She added, “I’m planning a special presentation for the Vietnam Veterans that had died from our parish.”
Also returning this year will be the Women’s Veterans of Louisiana that will set up in the hospitality room and the Military Appreciation Photo Wall.
Musical entertainment will begin Friday night with the Rock Country Cover Band Wicked Waters from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. The night will conclude with Hit N Run from New Orleans that will perform from 9:00 pm till Midnight. “We met them through the Louisiana Fairs and Festivals Convention,” Brown said. “They are a wonderful group of men that have a great little cover band where they do Classic Rock, and a majority of the band are veterans of the military as well. So we’re very excited to have them this year.”
The music continues Saturday night with One Trick Pony that will entertain the crowds with its brand of 70’s and 80’s Variety Party Rock from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. The festival will once again continue the tradition of welcoming to its stage a Nashville recording artist to headline its musical line up. This year’s performer will be Aaron Tippin from 10:00 till Midnight.
According to his bio, “Twenty-five years - a huge accomplishment, epecially in the music business. Aaron Tippin - who marks his silver anniversary as a recording artist this year - admits that he looks at his career longevity with a little bit of amazement. The singer still delights in that hour-and-a-half performing on the stage - and those who come out to see him. The Aaron Tippin 25th Anniversary Celebration promises to be an unforgettable year of music and fun.”
During his recording career, he has had such hits as “You’ve Got to Stand for Something,” “There Ain’t Nothing Wrong with the Radio,” “My Blue Angel,” and “Workin’ Man’s PhD,” as well as “That’s As Close As I’ll Get to Loving You.”
Brown also stated the carnival is returning to this year’s festival. “That carnival is free,” she explained. “The only thing you pay for is your bracelet to ride all you want for the day. It’s a pay one price for the bracelet for the day with our carnival.”
Virginia Coreil, according to Brown, is again in charge of the World Smoke Meat Championship Cook-Off with an average of 30 teams and 150 entries. “She has done an excellent job keeping the integrity of the program and the contest at its highest level,” added Brown.
“We are so grateful for all our sponsors, our volunteers, and all our friends of the festival,” Brown concluded. “Thank you so much for 25-years of being dedicated to this community event.”