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Childhood Wonder: LaPlace artist crafts 2018 Andouille Festival poster

GARYVILLE — LaPlace native Ciara Sanders traded her realistic portrait paintings for a more simplified art style when designing the 2018 Andouille Festival poster, opting to illustrate childhood wonder through friendly cartoon characters and vibrant colors.

A large crowd gathered at San Francisco Plantation’s Sugar Mill Pavillion Tuesday to celebrate the kick-off of the 45th annual Andouille Festival season, an event highlighted by Sanders’ official poster unveiling.

To Sanders, the Andouille Festival represents carefree days racing around festival grounds with friends and indulging in favorite local foods.

Her painting focuses on three characters representative of the iconic Festival — Chef Charles the Crawfish, Gary the Gator and King Andouille himself — flanked beside each other in a boiling pot on a whimsical rollercoaster ride.

Bright red and green hues pop against a warm yellow background, elements Sanders used to establish a cheerful atmosphere.

Local artist Ciara Sanders stands by her 2018 Andouille Festival poster design, which uses a more simplified art style illustrating wonder through cartoon characters and vibrant colors.

“When I first went to the Andouille Festival, I was a child, and those are my happiest memories,” Sanders said.

“This poster is reminiscent of that. Even though I didn’t do the rides because I’m not a big amusement park person, I know a lot of kids love it.”

Sanders wanted her design to capture every element of Andouille Festival culture, from the Ferris wheel to jazz music and gumbo cook-offs.

A graduating industrial design senior at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Sanders found a love for art at age 5 and enjoys painting commission pieces to help pay for school.

Her parents, Leonard and Bernadine Sanders of LaPlace, told her about the Andouille poster opportunity.

Parish President Natalie Robottom recalls working with Sanders’ mother in the early 2000s. She’s pleased to see the talented and intelligent young woman Sanders has grown up to be, and is thrilled to see a new addition to the iconic poster tradition.

“Under my tenure as (parish) president, we reintroduced the original festival poster and made it available to the public again,” Robottom said. “I felt it was an important part of the festival and its legacy. I’m proud that, since its re-inception, the artists have all been locally from St. John the Baptist Parish.”

Past Andouille Festival posters line the walls of the Parish administration building on Airline Highway in LaPlace, telling a visual history of how the event has grown and changed.

During Tuesday’s festivities, Marathon Petroleum Company general manager Tracy Case presented Parish administrators with a $30,000 check to go toward festival expenses. Those pictured include, from left, Laeh Alexander, Megan Hudson White, Natalie Robottom, Case, Alvin Scioneaux, Patience Pray and Aspen Murphy.

Starting in October, official posters can be purchased at Don’s Supermarket or Greg’s Neighborhood Market in Reserve or at Matherne’s Supermarket in LaPlace. Signed and numbered festival prints are being sold for $40 each, and signature only prints cost $30 each.

Posters will also be sold in the General Store at the Andouille Festival, which runs Oct. 19-21 next to the St. John the Baptist Parish Community Center on U.S. 51 in LaPlace.

A variety of Andouille Festival announcements including food vendors, craft lists and band lineups will be released at andouillefestival.com and the St. John Andouille Festival Facebook and Instagram pages.

During Tuesday’s festivities, Marathon Petroleum Company general manager Tracy Case presented Parish administrators with a $30,000 check to go toward festival expenses.

Marathon has served as title sponsor for the Andouille Festival since 2015.