Although a diverse blend of people built Evangeline into today's culturally rich community, the parish takes its name from the tragic heroine of Longfellow's epic poem on the Acadian legacy. The local calendar is packed with colorful and unique annual festivals, such as the Smoked Meat Festival and the Louisiana Cotton Festival in Ville Platte and the Louisiana Swine Festival in Basile. The parish is widely known as a hotbed of Cajun and Zydeco music, with important performers (like Steve Riley), venues (like Fred's Lounge in Mamou) and distributors (like Floyd's Record Shop in Ville Platte) calling Evangeline home. Even Chicot State Park, with its 2,000-acre lake, cabins and hiking trails, gets in on the musical tradition, hosting the Dewey Balfa Cajun & Creole Heritage Week in April. Country-style celebrations include Courir de Mardi Gras, where colorfully costumed revelers spread merriment from rustic floats or on horseback, enlivening many area towns.