‘Trailfeather’ shakin’ for all the right reasons, naturally

The TECHE Project. Sounds like it could be an episode from “The X- Files.”

Cue music here, but not the TV show’s theme song. How about something from Horace Trahan and Ossun Express, the Magnolia Sisters or Megan Brown and David Greely? Somebody mention The St. Bernard School Musicians?

There. That’s better. That’s what you’ll hear next Saturday for the fourth annual Shake Your Trailfeather Festival at Parc des Ponts in Breaux Bridge.
Like most fests in the area, this one is free, too. But it’s also a fundraiser to create projects and maintain facilities along the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail which, by the way, is a national recognized National Water Trail.

FYI: It’s the only one in Louisiana. And it just didn’t happen, all 200-plus of the TECHE Project volunteers worked really hard to earn such status. Also noteworthy of the highest order, the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail Map was awarded best in category for recreational maps by the International Cartography Society.

The funds collected from buying a pin and stuff on site goes to implementing grant funded projects to build floating docks in several towns and the trail’s very first trailhead facility in Breaux Bridge.

In the process of removing more than 50 tons of trash from the Teche sine 2009, the nonprofit, which stands for the Teche Ecology, Culture and History Education Project, is also working to raise awareness of the environmental, cultural, historical, and recreational values of Bayou Teche.

This is real stuff that affects all of us where we live — even if you don’t live on the Teche.

The Project is good for the people in the area along the bayou where easy, safe access to it is concerned, as well as those with property that line it.

Not only that, bayou landowners are getting into a wood duck management program and are re-vegetating the bank line with native vegetation to improve water quality.

While TECHE Project is organic and all, you know, with Mother Nature and the healthy aspect of being outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air while tooling, footprint-free, down the bayou, it would be disingenuous not to acknowledge the economic benefits, too, one day with a trail based economy along the bayou.

And that starts with the trailheads, docks, camping areas and other accouterments along the 130 miles of the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail. Paddlers can stop, drop anchor and check out a town along the way, grab something to eat and maybe shake a leg at a Zydeco Breakfast like they do at Café des Amis in Breaux Bridge.

All of this makes so much sense it’s almost scary in its simplicity and honesty.

Anyway, come next Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can keep the projects rolling while you paddle a good time, or just hangout on shore taking in the festivities. Eat, drink, dance and check out artisans selling their wares. There’ll be educational information and demonstrations about the various projects taking place on the Bayou, and, of course, many activities and face painting for kids. You’re encouraged to come adorned as birds and compete for the Best “Bayou Bird” prize. That ought to be interesting.

Magnolia Sister Anya Burgess, who’s also one of the founding members of the TECHE Project, described the festival as “a wonderful family event in a beautiful place,” she said. “The Trail Feather Festival is not only fun to attend but gives you a good feeling to know that you are supporting such a good cause.”