As we inch closer to summer, events this weekend celebrate the balmy temperatures and lush flora of Louisiana’s late spring. This weekend, there are a host of fundraisers and free events that encourage community building and provide a celebratory way to help Acadiana families, as well as free events for everyone in the family.

5/3: A Toast of the Town Gala: Maddie’s Footprints’ ninth annual spring benefit returns to Le Pavillion in Parc Lafayette for a night of wine testing, live music by Louisiana Red, a silent and live auction and a wine ring toss. Proceeds from the gala help Maddie’s Footprints further benefit and provide services to Acadiana families coping with miscarriages, stillbirths or the loss of an infant. Tickets are available through Eventbrite for $75 in advance, but tickets will be available at the door for $100. Doors open at 7 p.m.

5/3: Edible plants workshop: Looking for something to sink your teeth into? This Saturday morning at 9 a.m., Vermilionville will host Mark Suter for his annual workshop on locating nutritious and wild resources you can find in Acadiana. Suter will take attendees throughout the grounds of Vermilionville, where they will learn about physical plant characteristics, edible plant parts, proper plant preparation and available season of harvest, as well as how to identify poisonous wild plants. Attendance is $30 and are available via

5/3-5/4: Southern Garden Festival 2019: The annual two-day Southern Garden Festival returns this weekend with a Friday evening dinner and Saturday morning garden tour. Attendees can look forward to touring Harold and Sarah Tood Choeffler’s serene riverside garden near Oakbourne Country Club, learning from master gardeners, naturalists, and wildlife experts, and enjoy live music in the Garden Room. Friday’s dining and dancing event is $75 per person and $100 per couple and includes entrance to Saturday’s Southern Garden Festival. Saturday’s festival is $10 per person at the garden gate. Proceeds benefit the non-profit organization Family Promise Acadiana, which aims to help homeless families establish stability.

5/4: Movies in the Parc: Parc Lafayette’s beloved Movies in the Parc series returns Saturday with a double feature of “Heavyweights” and “Dazed and Confused.” For the 2019 season, attendees are encouraged to engage in any related activities until “Heavyweights” screens at 6 p.m. “Heavyweights,” a film about a group of overweight children terrorized by Ben Stiller at summer camp, is rated PG. “Dazed and Confused” follows high school students on their last day of class in 1976 and is rated R and screens at 10 p.m. This event is free to the public. 

5/5: Spring Secret Supper Series – May: Maison Madeleine at Lake Martin will once again host celebrated chefs and musicians for a heightened dining experience nestled among cypress trees this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Chef Jeremy Conner of Spoonbill Watering Hole and Restaurant and freelance food stylist Tina Bell Stamos of Austin will prepare the evening’s meal. Musicians Sabra Guzman, four-time Grammy nominee David Greely and Diego Martin-Perez will perform. General admission is $188 and are available via