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Fall Festivals

A guide to the season's celebrations

Paul Kieu photo

September

Southern Decadence
Sept. 2-7
Various locations in the French Quarter
Various Times
Info@SouthernDecadence.net
SouthernDecadence.net
Admission: $50 weekend pass, $100 VIP weekend pass
What makes it special: While some other cities just have a pride parade, New Orleans hosts a full scale Labor Day gay-cation that’s an around-the-clock party.

Louisiana Seafood Festival
Sept. 4-6
City Park Festival Grounds
11 a.m.-7 p.m.
jen@louisianahospitality.org
LouisianaSeafoodfestival.com
Admission: Free
What makes it special: Besides copious seafood, there’s a beer garden, live music, an arts village and chef demonstrations — and admission is still free.

Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival
Sept. 3-7
715 Second St., Morgan City
1 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday
(985) 385-0703
ShrimpAndPetroleum.org
Admission: Free
What makes it special: Celebrating unusual Louisiana bedfellows, the party extends from Thursday until the very end of Labor Day weekend.

New Orleans Burlesque Festival
Sept. 17-20
AC Hotel, 221 Carondelet St.
Various Times
975-7425, NewOrleansBurlesque@yahoo.com
NewOrleansBurlesqueFest.com
Admission: Various
What makes it special: You can watch burlesque dancers from around the country vie for the Queen of Burlesque title.

Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival
Sept. 18-19
Riverbank Stage, Downtown Natchitoches
2:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday
(318) 652-0578
MeatpieFestival.com
Admission: Free
What makes it special: You can experience the small town’s signature street food, as well as live music, kid’s activities and arts and crafts.

NOLA Horror Film Fest
Sept. 24-27
Rare Form, 437 Esplanade Ave.
5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.
NewOrleansHorrorFilmFestival.com
Admission: Ranges from $10 for single screening to $150 for a weekend VIP pass
What makes it special: Get in the Halloween spirit early with weekend of indie horror films (short and feature-length) from Louisiana and filmmakers from around the country and world.

Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival

Sept. 25-26
Lamar Dixon Expo Center, 9039 S. Landry Road, Gonzales
4 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday
AscensionBallooning.com
Admission: $5, free for children 12 and under
What makes it special: Make your Instagram followers jealous with all the beautiful shots you’ll get of colorful balloons floating up to the sky. Besides the dozens of hot air balloons, there’s a children’s village with activities and carnival rides. Inside the expo center is where you’ll find more than 100 vendors.

 

Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival
Sept. 25-26
Cassidy Park, 129 Ben Miller Drive, Bogalusa
5 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday
(985) 205-1075
BogalusaBlues.com
Admission: $10 day pass, $20 weekend pass
What makes it special: A fairly new festival (it began in 2012) it’s already drawing blues travelers from around the south for its strong music lineup.

New Orleans on Tap Beer Festival
Sept. 26
City Park Festival Grounds
1 p.m. to 8 p.m., VIP early entry noon to 1 p.m
info@nolaontap.org
NOLAonTap.org
Admission: Free; tickets for food and drinks are for sale
What makes it special: It’s dog-friendly, benefits the LA/SPCA and features homebrews among the 300-plus offerings.

 

October

Festivals Acadiens et Creole

Girard Park, 500 Girard Park Drive, Lafayette
5:30-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sunday
FestivalAcadiens.com
Admission: Free
What makes it special: For those craving Lafayette’s signature spring festival, Festival International de Louisiane, this offers cultural heritage (although specifically to Louisiana) in the form of a killer music line-up. Playing at the free fest this year are many Cajun or Cajun-influenced bands that have found younger audiences, including Feufollet, Pine Leaf Boys, Sweet Crude and Lost Bayou Ramblers. The festival also features Creole and Cajun food, a craft fair and kids’ activities.

Ponderosa Stomp
Oct. 1-3
Various
Various Times
810-9116, info@ponderosastompfoundation.org
PonderosaStomp.com
Admission: Concerts $60 per night, $110 festival pass
What makes it special: The fest celebrates the “unsung” heroes of rock ’n’ roll with concerts, a music history conference and a record sale.

Hell Yes Fest
Oct. 1-11
The New Movement, 2706 St. Claude Ave., and other locations
Varies Times
HellYesFest.com
Admission: Various
What makes it special: Besides funny and experimental sketch, stand-up and improv from around the country, the comedy fest also includes a film component and plenty of parties.

Gretna Heritage Festival
Oct. 2-4
Huey P. Long Avenue, downtown Gretna
4 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; 12-9 p.m. Sunday
361-7748
GretnaFest.com
Admission: Ranges from $20 for a single day ticket to $350 for a VIP Package
What makes it special: Rap-rocker Kid Rock headlines this year’s fest, which includes a German beer garden and Italian village.

Fall Angola Prison Rodeo
Sundays, Oct. 4-25
Louisiana State Penitentiary
2 p.m.
info@angolarodeo.com
AngolaRodeo.com
Admission: $15
What makes it special: There’s really nothing like this anywhere, and you can come back with handcrafted souvenirs that are truly one of a kind.

Zwolle Tamale Fiesta
Oct. 8-10
Zwolle Festival Grounds
Times TBA
ZwolleTamaleFiesta.com
Admission: Free
What makes it special: The festival celebrates the tamale as a symbol of the Spanish and Indian heritage of the tiny (estimated population: 1,975) town.

Oktoberfest

Oct. 9-10, 16-17 and 23-24
Deutsches Haus, 415 Williams Blvd., Kenner
4 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday
522-8014
OktoberfestNola.com
Admission: $6; free for children under 12
What makes it special: With three weekends of festival, there’s no excuse not to experience everything: There are adorable Dachshund races, a beerstein-holding contest, German food and beer, beer and more beer.

Gentilly Fest
Oct. 9-11
Pontchartrain Park, Press Drive and Prentiss Avenue
6-9 p.m. Friday; 12-8 p.m. Saturday; 12-7 p.m. Sunday
GentillyFest.com
Admission: Free
What makes it special: There’s a gospel tent for anyone having Jazz Fest withdrawals.

Voice of the Wetlands Festival
Oct. 9-11
5403 West Park, Houma
Times TBA
(985) 226-1004, rwilliams@voiceofthewetlands.org
VoiceOfTheWetlands.org
Admission: Free
What makes it special: Wetlands conservation – the festival’s raison d’etre – is music to your ears with acts like the fest’s resident Voice of the Wetlands All Stars, a supergroup of Louisiana funk and blues musicians.

Japanfest
Oct. 10
New Orleans Museum of Art, 1 Collins Diboll Circle
10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
JapanSocietyofNewOrleans.org
Admission: $5 general admission; free for NOMA members
What makes it special: It’s the biggest celebration of Japanese culture in the city where you can buy Japanese arts and crafts and see an authentic tea ceremony.

Carnaval Latino
Oct. 10-11
Various French Quarter and downtown locations
Various Times
528-8560
CarnavaLatinola.com
Admission: Free
What makes it special: Hispanic-American Musicians and Artists Cultural Association’s festival focuses on the music with acts from Latin America, as well as local artists.

Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival
Oct. 10-11
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, 133 Mabel Drive, Madisonville
10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
(985) 845-9200
WoodenBoatFest.org
Admission: General admission $10; $5 for seniors over 65 and children 12 and under; free for active military with ID
What makes it special: Up to 100 antique, vintage and contemporary boats typically line up along the Tchefuncte River.

Celebracion Latina
Oct. 11
Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
581-4629
AudubonInstitute.org
Admission: Free with zoo admission; $18.95 ages 13-64; $14.95 ages 65 and older; $13.95 ages 2-12; free for members
What makes it special: You can stroll through the zoo to the sounds of Latin bands.

International Rice Festival
Oct. 15-19
Downtown Crowley
6 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday.
(337) 783-3067
RiceFestival.com
Admission: Free
What makes it special: Suspend your no-carb diet for Louisiana’s oldest agricultural festival: you won’t want to miss the rice dish contest.

New Orleans Film Festival
Dates. Oct. 15-22
Various
Various Times
309-6633, info@neworleansfilmsociety.org
NewOrleansFilmSociety.org
Admission: Various
What makes it special: Catch Oscar hopefuls before they hit the big screen and sometimes rub shoulders with celebrity guests at the fest’s many parties.

Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival
Oct. 16-18
Lafayette Square Park, 540 St. Charles Ave.
5 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
558-6100
JazzAndHeritage.org/Blues-Fest
Admission: Free
What makes it special: Equal amounts of blues and barbecue – what could be better?

Anba Dlo
Oct. 17
New Orleans Healing Center, 2372 St. Claude Ave.
6 p.m.-midnight
940-1130, nohcfestival@neworleanshealingcenter.org
AnbaDloFestival.org
Admission: Free general admission; $25 VIP
What makes it special: The Halloween festival with spirited live music has Haitian influences.

Washington Parish Free Fair
Oct. 21-24
115 Main St., Franklinton
Times TBA
(985) 839-5228
FreeFair.com
Admission: Free
What makes it special: It’s purported to be the largest county/parish free fair in the United States

Ghosts in the Oaks
Oct. 23-24
New Orleans City Park
7 p.m.-10 p.m.; early admission 6 p.m.
483-9376
FriendsOfCityPark.com
Admission: $15 general; $12 Friends of City Park members; $20 early admission; free for children under 3
What makes it special: Unlimited rides in Carousel Gardens in a spooky setting.

French Food Festival
Oct. 23-25
Larose Regional Park and Civic Center, 307 E. Fifth St., Larose
6 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday; 5 p.m.-11 a.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
(985) 693-7355
BayouCivicClub.org
Admission: Free
What makes it special: “French” here more refers to Cajun French, and that’s reflected in festival dishes such as shrimp boulettes.

Words and Music
Oct. 28-Nov. 1
Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St.
Various Times
info@wordsandmusic.org
WordsAndMusic.org
Admission: Ranges from $100-$800
What makes it special: The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society’s festival offers a host of literary happenings, including master classes and sessions with literary agents and critics for authors.

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
Oct. 30-Nov. 1
New Orleans City Park
Times TBA
WorshiptheMusic.com
App: WorshipTheMusic.com/mobile-app
Admission: $125 (three-day general admission); $350 VIP; free for children 10 and under
What makes it special: Features favorite contemporary festival acts (Florence and the Machine) alongside 1990s nostalgia (Jane’s Addiction) in a trippy, late-night carnival setting.

Louisiana Book Festival
Oct. 31  
State Library of Louisiana, the State Capitol, the Capitol Park Museum and nearby locations in Baton Rouge
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
(225) 219-9503
LouisianaBookFestival.org
App: itunes.apple.com/app/id724978331
Admission: Free
What makes it special: The one-day festival celebrating the state’s rich literary community is jam-packed with author appearances; panels; an exhibitor space with booksellers, publishing houses and scholarly programs; and more.

LadyFest
Oct. 31-Nov. 8
Various
 Various Times
931-9824
LadyFestNewOrleans.org
Admission: TBA
What makes it special: Female artists of different mediums challenge racism, homophobia and sexism through performance.

 

November

faux/real
Nov. 4-22
Various
Various Times
FauxRealNewOrleans.com
Admission: TBA
What makes it special: Formerly New Orleans Fringe, faux/real expands its predecessor’s experimental offerings beyond theater to include literature, food and drink events.

Louisiana Renaissance Festival

Weekends Nov. 7-Dec. 13
46468 River Road, Hammond
9:45 a.m.-dusk
(985) 429-9992
LARF.net
Admission: Ranges from $18 single day admission to $110 for season passes
What makes it special: If you bemoan the trend of festival attire that leaves nothing to the imagination, here is one place where people will be very much clothed (save for some heaving wench cleavages). As like RenFests everywhere, the Hammond version’s festivalgoers and workers take things really seriously here with accurate period attire and era-appropriate demonstrations. You can watch real jousting and falconry, holiday shop for your English major friends and even brush up your history.

Celebration in the Oaks
Nov. 7-Jan. 3
City Park
6-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 6-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday
jlacour@nocp.org
NewOrleansCityPark.com
Admission: $8; free for children under 3 and Friends of City Park members
What makes it special: The surefire way for even the biggest cynics to get into the holiday spirit, the park is filled with giant light-up structures, Christmas carols, hot chocolate and other festive fun.

Three Rivers Art Festival
Nov. 14-15
Downtown Covington
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
(985) 327-9797, info@threeriversartfestival.com
ThreeRiversArtFestival.com
Admission: Free
What makes it special: More than 200 artists from more than 20 states, demonstrations, live music and food booths take over downtown Covington.

Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival
Nov. 14-15
Armstrong Park, 701 N. Rampart St.
11 a.m.-7 p.m.
558-6100
JazzAndHeritage.org/Treme-Gumbo
Admission: Free
What makes it special: Even the animal adverse can have fun – the festival features a vegan gumbo cook-off.

Boudin, Bourbon & Beer
Nov. 13
Champions Square
6 p.m.
BoudinBourbonAndBeer.com
Admission: $85
What makes it special: Emeril Lagasse and Donald Link’s event has serious chefs from around the country serving up boudin – it’s like a non-televised “Top Chef” challenge.

Christmas Festival of Lights, Natchitoches
Nov. 21-Jan. 6
Downtown Natchitoches
Various Times
NatchitochesChristmas.com
Admission: Free
What makes it special: This small town takes Christmas seriously with over a month of festivities. All season long there’s festivities, including light displays and a fireworks show every Saturday. The fun culminates in a parade and festival on Dec. 5.

Oak Street Po-Boy Festival
Nov. 22
Oak Street
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
info@poboyfest.com
PoBoyFest.com
Admission: Free
What makes it special: Local vendors get creative with their offerings to have an edge in the poor boy competition. 

 

 

 

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