Rows of tents are lined up at City Park in New Iberia and Thursday night, hundreds of people will be sleeping there.
It’s a group of 450 bicyclists who rolled into town in, what they’re calling, a festival on wheels. Cycle Zydeco is described as a four-day bike tour of South Louisiana, boasting many exotic guests and even one cycling celebrity.
"Attendance has always been phenomenal and interesting. We’re growing our Louisiana participation, but it’s overwhelmingly people from around the country and around the world. We have a map showing every country. We have several countries in Africa represented, several countries in Europe. We have the great Bernard Renault, the greatest cyclist that’s ever been, attending this year," says an organizer, Scott Schilling.
Bernard Hinault is a five-time winner of Tour de France from Britanny, France is taking part in the festival to raise money for a local charity in France that benefits cancer patients.
New Iberia is the group’s first stop after Lafayette. They will continue the ride through St. Martin and St. Landry parishes, ending back in Lafayette, all while soaking in the Louisiana culture.
"Each night for the group they have music set up, and last night it was somebody who was well known, some notable Zydeco band, and they were just fantastic," says Matthew Jordan, a cyclist in town from San Francisco.
Of course, the scenery and hospitality are second to none, which is what keeps the tradition alive and growing for years.
"It’s been beautiful and the people are very friendly… The word’s gotten out that this is a good fun ride, and there’s a few people who have done it a couple of years in a row and they said you’re going to have a blast so we’re really looking forward to it," says Jordan.