NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Bayou Bon Vivant Festival and the departure of the Carnival Magic created a busy weekend for Downtown Norfolk.

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The three-day cajun festival is held in Town Point Park next to the Half Moon Cruise and Celebration Center, where passengers board their ship en route to the Bahamas.

On Saturday, around 3,600 passengers returned from their cruise in the morning, and in the afternoon, thousands more boarded to depart, according to a Port employee.

Passengers like Richmond resident Michael Coleman, who was headed to the Bahamas with his family for his 18th birthday, were excited about the cruise.

“I can say to have a good time,” Coleman said when asked about what he was looking forward to about the trip. “That’s it!”

The presence of the ship was a looming one to those attending Bayou Bon Vivant.

Norfolk resident Angela Vann, who was walking to the festival, decided to check out the ship before entering the festval.

“I saw people getting on so I was trying to get more information,” she told 10 On Your Side.

Vann has been on cruises before but says having a terminal here is more convenient than having to fly to another state to board.

“It’s great because I’ve always wanted to take my daughter on a cruise. Just being here and local, it works out perfectly,” she added.

While cruise passengers were getting ready to party onboard, Town Point Park visitors embraced the New Orleans spirit on the ground.

Tony Melendez, with the Rad Hatter, says he’s been attending the festival since the early 2000s and is glad to be back.

His tent, which creates free festive paper hats, welcomed many visitors including some he remembers from years past.

Melendez says the city has embraced more family-friendly events in recent years and he’s seeing more people emerging to have fun.

“The pandemic happened and everyone sheltered down, which was fin, but now everyone’s coming out of their shell. The hat brings confidence,” he said.

While the remainder of Saturday’s event was canceled due to inclement weather, it was still a hit despite the heat for those in attendance.

Hampton Roads resident and native New Orleanian Mike Cowan, who attended, even gave it his stamp of approval.

“I was at Jazz Fest a month ago. This is like the mini version,” he said.

Festevents says it will honor Saturday ticket holders at Sunday’s event.