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Fun! Food! Fest

Our Guide to Fall Festivals

CHERYL GERBER PHOTO

Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival
Oct. 13-15
CrescentCityBluesFest.com

Admission: Free and open to the public. Location: Lafayette Square Park. Best Bet: The Como Mamas are three lifelong gospel singers from the small town of Como, Mississippi. They combine forceful harmonies and hard-earned soul for a mesmerizing performance. Lagniappe: The festival is not just about music and BBQ. There is also a wonderful arts market with handcrafted artworks and home furnishings. Each year, the vendors are carefully curated to  showcase the finest quality.


New Orleans Burlesque Festival
Sept. 14-17
NewOrleansBurlesqueFest.com

Admission: Tickets range from $20-50. Location: Different venues around the French Quarter/downtown. Best Bet: The Queen of Burlesque competition is a highly coveted title in the world of burlesque, as dancers from London, Montreal, Dallas, and other locales from around the globe dance to the accompaniment of a live jazz band. Celebrity judges pick the winner. Lagniappe: At the Queen of Burlesque competition, be sure to get an autographed photo from burlesque legend Rita Alexander, the Champagne Girl.


Must-have items

  • Back up phone charger, just in case
  • Band-Aids
  • baby wipes, which can double as a cleaning cloth or come in handy if the portable potty is out of T.P. and hand sanitizer
  • A bandana or cloth to wet and tie around your neck when you get hot
  • Sunscreen
  • Parasol or umbrella
  • Water or water bottle

Art for Art’s Sake
Oct. 7
MagazineStreet.com

Admission: Free and open to the public. Location: Various galleries on Magazine Street and in the Warehouse District. Best Bet: Many Louisianians are watching college football on Saturday nights in the fall, so the crowds are a lot thinner here than at White Linen Night. The weather’s usually a little cooler, too, so take your time and enjoy a leisurely stroll to and through the Crescent City’s many fine art galleries. Lagniappe: The Contemporary Arts Center always includes musical performances along with its art exhibits. Note: While most of Art for Art’s Sake is free, admission to the CAC party is $10 for non-CAC members.


Words & Music
Dec. 6-10
WordsAndMusic.org

Admission: Prices are not finalized for 2017, but last year’s prices were $5 for individual discussions, $150 for an all-day pass, $200 for an all-discussion pass, and $800 for an all-events pass (the event includes discussions, meals, parties, and manuscript critiques). Special deals are available for students and teachers. Best Bet: Literature and Lunch is an event where attendees get to eat, drink a glass of wine and mingle with famous authors ($55 in advance). One is the noted religious scholar, bestselling non-fiction author, and television commentator Reza Aslan. Aslan’s new book God will be released concurrently with the festival. Another is the famous biographer Walter Isaacson (he’s written about Steve Jobs and Einstein), whose new book Leonardo da Vinci will be released in the fall. Lagniappe: Every year, the Faulkner Society creates a theme for the literary festival’s sessions. This year’s will be “War & Collateral Damage in Literature and Life.”


Q&A

Fallon Young
Executive Director of the New Orleans Film Society

What’s new at the film fest this year? This year’s festival includes several initiatives focused on increasing opportunities for filmmakers - we are providing funding to Create Louisiana to offer a grant for a documentary filmmaker in Louisiana; Tribeca Film Institute’s IF/THEN initiative will award a $20,000 cash prize to a documentary filmmaker participating in our Pitch Perfect competition; Emerging Voices, our mentorship for Louisiana filmmakers of color, kicks off during the festival, and we will facilitate over 300 meetings with filmmakers and industry professionals during opening weekend. Is there any advance intel you can give us on what will be playing? Our programming team and small army of volunteer screeners are still reviewing an all-time record number of submissions prior to the September unveiling of the festival line-up…Audiences must stay tuned. What are you most excited about for this year’s fest? We see our greatest impact in the exchange of ideas that occurs when an anticipated 25,000 people gather over the course of nine days to champion film in New Orleans…With the finalizing and stabilizing of the film industry tax incentive statewide, we are expecting a big upturn in productions in Louisiana in the coming months - there will certainly be a celebratory air at the festival following this positive news for the local film industry.


Southern Decadence
Aug. 30-Sept. 4
SouthernDecadence.net

Admission: Some events are free, but others have a fee. $70 for a weekend pass, $110 for a VIP weekend pass. Best Bet: Check out the Bourbon Street Extravaganza on Saturday afternoon and early evening. It’s a free outdoor concert at the corner of Bourbon St. and St. Ann St. Lagniappe: This year’s theme is “electrified.” Attendees are encouraged to wear all neon colors.


Oktoberfest
Oct. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21
OktoberFestNOLA.com

Admission: $8 for adults, children 12 and under free. Location: Deutsches Haus’ new location at 1700 Moss St. in Faubourg St. John. Best Bet: Eat! If you ever wanted to partake in authentic German food but can’t afford a plane ticket to Munich, now is your chance to gorge yourself on brats, schnitzel, sauerkraut, a wide variety of German cheeses and desserts, as well as the enormous Bavarian-style pretzels. Lagniappe: If you’re feeling worried about all the weight you might put on from the delicious sausages and frosty beers you’ll consume, then try to run some of it off with the Oktoberfest 5K run/walk on Saturday, Oct. 7th (register at RunNOTC.org).


Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
Oct. 27-29
VoodooFestival.com

Admission: $140 + fees for a 3-day general admission ticket, $400 + fees for a 3-day Loa VIP ticket, $1050 for a 3-day platinum ticket (Note: ticket prices will increase as the festival date approaches). Location: City Park. Best Deal: The Loa VIP ticket gives you raised platform viewing of the main stage, express entry at the main gates, shaded lounge seating, air conditioned comfort stations and restrooms, massages, tarot readings, face painting, and unlimited carnival rides. Lagniappe: If you want to get into the Halloween spirit while at Voodoo, check out the on-site Mortuary Haunted House.


Boudin, Bourbon and Beer
Nov. 3
BoudinBourbonAndBeer.com

Admission: $99. Location: Champions Square. Best Bet: Meet Emeril Lagasse himself! The legendary chef mingles freely around the event, interacting with the crowd, serving food, and taking pictures with his guests. Lagniappe: Aside from entry, food, and cocktails, the admission price lets guests visit the Nat Sherman Cigar Tasting Tent, where you can sample some of America’s finest cigars.


Gentilly Fest
Oct. 6-8
GentillyFest.com

Admission: Free to enter, but you must pay for food and beverages (no outside food or ice chests allowed). Location: Pontchartrain Park. Best Bet: Make sure to try the Gentilly Juice, which was a big hit at last year’s fest. It’s a tasty mix of vodka and a special juice blend. Lagniappe: Gentilly Fest is celebrating ten years of music, food, and fun. The event was started shortly after Hurricane Katrina to raise funds for organizations that will help make Gentilly a better place. This year, donations will aid the sports programs at Pontchartrain Park and Milne Playgrounds, the Roots of Music and other public service organizations.


New Orleans Film Festival
Oct. 11-19
NewOrleansFilmFestival.org
#NOFF2017

Admission: Individual screenings are $5-15. All-access passes are $200 for New Orleans Film Society members and $270 for non-members. Locations: The Orpheum, Contemporary Arts Center, Theatres at Canal Place, The Broad Theater and Ashe’ Cultural Center, among a few others. Best Deal: Join the New Orleans Film Society for special rates and the chance to buy tickets before the public. The all-access pass ($70 cheaper for NOFS members) gets you into both the films and the exclusive parties. Lagniappe: The film fest also hosts industry leaders in panels, roundtable discussions and networking opportunities.


Bywater Mirliton Festival
facebook.com/MirlitonFestival

TBD: Dates have not been set for this year’s neighborhood sampling of mirliton, the squash-like plant that’s long been popular in the Bywater.


Hell Yes Fest
Nov. 15-19
HellYesFest.com

Admission: $10-15 Location: The New Movement, One Eyed Jacks, Cafe Istanbul, Hi-Ho Lounge. Best Bet: While this comedy festival brings in nationally renowned talent (last year’s event featured Sarah Silverman), check out “Blow Up the Locals,” a comedy show featuring homegrown talent from New Orleans. Lagniappe: In its five years of existence, the Hell Yes Fest has never run the same format twice. This year’s festival will have fewer venues and a heavier emphasis on unusually formatted shows from around the country.


Beignet Fest
Oct. 7
BeignetFest.com

Admission: Free and open to the public, but you must pay for food and beverages inside. Location: City Park’s Festival Grounds Best Bet: Since it’s a family-oriented festival, check out The Imagination Movers at noon on the 7th. The Disney Channel stars (and New Orleans natives) write and perform songs that speak to children instead of down to them. Lagniappe: There’s a kids village with games and activities for the little ones like corn hole, Jenga and food demonstrations. Proceeds from the fest support the Tres Doux foundation, which benefits children who suffer from developmental delays and disabilities.


Oak Street Po-Boy Festival
Oct. 22
PoBoyFest.com

Best Bet: Try the barbecue oyster po-boy from Red Fish Grill, with fried oysters, blue cheese, and hot sauce.


Tips

Bring cash, because festival ATM fees are crazy

If you live close enough to bike, that is the way to go

Bring a backpack. No one wants to carry everything.

If you are going to something where you’d like to sit and enjoy the music, bring a tarp. Only bring a blanket or towel if you’re cool with it getting messed up.

Ziploc bags, if it starts raining you will be so happy you have these.

Koozie – your drink will sweat and get hot immediately when you’re out in the sun.

SUNGLASSES AND A HAT. Lord it gets hot, and your face and head are the first to burn.

Beer tube cooler to pack beer cans in when you get inside the grounds.

A lot of the time you can’t bring your own water and food, so check online to see what you can and can’t bring in with you.

Always pack a poncho. if you need it and if you use it you can just toss it on your way out.


NOLA Christmas Fest
Dec. 22-31
NOLAChristmasFest.com

Admission: $20, free for kids 2 and under. $15 each for groups of 10 or more. Location:  Ernest Morial Convention Center. Best Bet: The Greater New Orleans Area has not had an indoor ice rink since the one at the Lake Forest Plaza closed in 1988. So if you’re an ice skating aficionado or someone who has always wanted to try it, take advantage of the indoor rink. Skating and skate rentals are included with admission. Lagniappe:  If you’re a little too timid to try on the ice skates, there are several carnival rides within the festival, including the Kringle Carousel, the Dat Dog Winter Whirl, the Comet’s Tail, and the Polar Express.


Treme Creole Gumbo Festival
Nov. 18-19
TremeGumboFest.com

Admission: Free and open to the public. Location: Armstrong Park. Best Bet: At the risk of sounding obvious, the gumbo. Nowhere else can diners find 12 different interpretations of gumbo side by side. When you’re not sampling liberally from the gumbo choices, there will also be cooking demonstrations and panel discussions. Lagniappe: Live music lovers should check out the Trumpet Mafia. It started as an informal jam session among some of New Orleans’ best trumpet players, but turned into a band with its own fresh interpretation of the New Orleans brass band sound.


Q&A

Clevland Spears III

President and CEO of the Spears Group and Fried Chicken Festival organizer

What’s new at this year’s fest? This year’s Fried Chicken Festival (FCF) is two days and at a new location, Woldenberg Park. Additionally, this year, the festival will feature three stages, including two music stages and a cooking demo stage. FCF will also feature the AT&T and Best Buy Football Fan Zone, the Sucre Sweet Spot, and the Louisiana Federation for Children Kids’ Coop, the GoNOLA Mist and Chill Lounge, and more. What type of fried chicken can people get here they can’t elsewhere? We have vendors from across the country, and the FCF is the only place you can get them all. Dishes include fried chicken muffuletta, fried chicken gumbo, smoked chicken wing nachos, fried chicken alfredo, and fried chicken grilled cheese to name a few. How will you deal with the crowds this year? At this new location, festival goers will have more than 520,000 sq. ft. of space to roam, which is more than four times larger than Lafayette Square’s 108,000-footprint. Additionally, we will have more vendors and the vendors will be better prepared with adequate equipment, staffing, and portions as we have a better idea of what to expect this time around. What are you most excited about? We are excited for the opportunity to provide a platform for independently owned restaurants to showcase themselves while providing a fun and safe environment for locals and tourists. Additionally, we are excited to expand our reach nationally to remind the country again that New Orleans is one of the America’s most beloved culinary destinations, and fried chicken is a great way to do so.

Fried Chicken Festival
Sept. 23-24
FriedChickenFestival.com

Admission: Free to enter, but you must pay for food and beverages. Location: Woldenberg Park. Best Bet: Check out the festival’s newest addition: the Sucre Sweet Spot. If you’ve eaten all the fried chicken you can handle, you can buy a selection of desserts, like chocolate-dipped macaroons and other sweet treats, from chef Tariq Hanna. Lagniappe: After a cramped festival last year at Lafayette Square, this year organizers have moved to Woldenberg Park’s 520,000 sq. ft. of space (about five times the size of Lafayette Square). This year’s event will also feature a cooking demo stage headed by award-winning chef Jeff Henderson.

 


 

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