Downtown Lafayette came alive last weekend with the 21st annual Lafayette Art & Wine Festival bringing arts and crafts, live music, fun rides and activities for kids and of course, wine and beer for adults.
The festival, which draws over 50,000 visitors, is also important for local education since LPIE is one of the event’s major beneficiaries. Last year, the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, which runs the festival, donated $9,000 to LPIE. The amount they give this year will be determined in the coming weeks.
Besides fundraising, the event is a great way for the community to learn more about LPIE and what it does for Lafayette’s schools. LPIE hosted a booth manned by board member volunteers who gave out information, talked to festival attendees and played the very popular “spin the wheel” game with hundreds of passersby.
LPIE art instructors also put together a life size paper mache “LPIE Guy” which visitors could paint with the help of volunteers.
"It was great seeing all the kids who were excited to visit our booth, spin the wheel and paint the LPIE guy,” says Judy Sandberg, LPIE co-chair at Lafayette Elementary School, who worked at the booth on Saturday afternoon.
“I heard lots of kids saying how they always look forward to their time with LPIE instructors. We had numerous people stop by from other cities who were impressed by our partnership with the School District and City of Lafayette and wished that their city had such strong relationships for their education foundation," she says.
The LPIE Guy was such a hot attraction that it actually got painted twice over the weekend. LPIE volunteers spray painted him white at the end of the day on Saturday so that new visiting artists would have a blank canvas to start over with on Sunday. The LPIE guy is a community project that will be displayed at various LPIE events during the year, such as the upcoming Smitten Day on Wednesday, Oct. 26th.
“It is so fun to have our own art project to which the community could contribute their painting prowess!” says Caity Burrows, Community-at-Large member of the LPIE board, who worked at the booth during the festival.
LPIE’s wheel game was also extremely popular with kids and adults alike, especially since everyone who played won something. By the end of the weekend, volunteers had given away over 500 LPIE pens and pencils, 225 LPIE notepads and over 200 other prizes from Smitten, the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, Minuteman Press and Rancho Cantina.
Adult volunteers from LPIE and the public schools also helped sell beer and wine tickets at the festival, while many of the musical acts that performed, such as the Dominant 7, Bob Athayde and Friends and The Ripplers, featured staff members, students and parents of the school community.