New Orleanians hoped festivals would return in 2021, but COVID-19 had other plans for most of them. The good news is festivals are back in full force for fall 2022. There’s something for everyone in the Crescent City’s fall festival lineup.
National Fried Chicken Festival
Admission: Single-day tickets are $15 and weekend passes are $20.
Location: Lakeshore Drive at Franklin Avenue
The Lowdown: Enjoy the best in fried chicken at the National Fried Chicken Festival presented by Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. Vendors from across the country will be participating. There will be also be live music from a variety of Louisiana bands. This year, the festival will include its first-ever custom car showcase. For people looking to get involved with community projects, there will also be a community corner where visitors can learn about amazing local nonprofits and how they can help make a difference in their community. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 1, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 2. Musical acts won’t begin until 11 a.m. on Sunday, but the festival gates will open bright and early at 8 a.m. to accommodate Saints fans who want to watch the Saints take on the Vikings in London.
Gretna Heritage Festival
Admission: Single-day tickets are $20 and a weekend pass is $45. Children under 12 get in free. VIP packages range from $150 to $7,500 (the latter price features a private elevated suite overlooking the Mississippi River and the Main Stage).
Location: Gretna Riverfront
The Lowdown: Gretna Fest has long been one of the Greater New Orleans area’s most underrated music festivals. This year’s event will feature musical heavy-hitters like John Fogerty (of Creedence Clearwater Revival), Irma Thomas, John Boutte, The Beach Boys, The Revivalists, and Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers. And there’s more going on than just the music. The new Margarita Village will feature various flavors of margaritas (obviously) but also street tacos and mariachi bands. Other new additions include the craft beer section and the kids’ corner featuring games, inflatables, a bungee run, train rides, a rock wall, and more. There will also be a large food court area and an arts and crafts tent.
Oct. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22
Admission: $10 in cash at the gate. Kids under 11 get in for free.
Location: The Deutsches Haus (on Moss. St. across from City Park)
The Lowdown: The best in German food ranging from brats to pretzels to kielbasa on a stick to sauerkraut to German cheeses and scrumptious German desserts will be available at Desutsches Haus. There will also be a German costume contest, a beer stein holding contest, and, of course, lots of beer! More than 20 different German beers, nine different wines, and more than 20 different schnapps will be available. Oompah music and the chicken dance will also be a part of the event.
Location: Pontchartrain Park Playground
The Lowdown: Attendees will get to enjoy continuous live music on three stages, kicking off with Jazz Under the stars on Oct. 8. There will also be delicious food from an array of local restaurants and caterers. Fine arts and crafts will be on sale from local vendors, too. There will also be a kids’ village with activities like pony rides, a kids’ entertainment stage, face painting, pottery making, garden crafts, and much more.
Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival
Location: Lafayette Square
The Lowdown: Blues music has a rich history in New Orleans, and it’s celebrated during the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival from Oct. 14-16 at Lafayette Square. Admission is free. Top performers from southern Louisiana and Mississippi will be playing. Highlights include Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Mia Borders, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Robert Finley, and Johnny Sansone. There will also be food and unique visual art.
NOLA Reggae Fest
Admission: Free on Oct. 14, $10 for one day, $15 for the weekend, $75 for single-day VIP, and $125 for weekend VIP
Location: Congo Square
The Lowdown: National reggae artists and DJs will be playing on all three days. VIP customers will receive official merchandise, a shaded VIP area with seating, access to private bathrooms, and complimentary food and beverages.
Ghosts in the Oaks
Admission: Early admission tickets (5-6 p.m.) are $30. General admission tickets (6-9 p.m.) are $25. Friends of City Park members’ tickets are $22. Children under 36 months get in free. All tickets will be sold online and in advance.
The Lowdown: Ghosts in the Oaks will bring wholesome Halloween fun for the whole family to City Park. There will be trick-or-treating, arts & crafts, a pumpkin patch, and hot dog roasting around the campfire.
Krewe of Boo
Location: Marigny, French Quarter
The Lowdown: For everyone wishing for the 2023 Mardi Gras season to get here quicker, the Krewe of Boo is here to satisfy for your parade cravings. Featuring floats from Kern Studios, the parade will delight attendees of all ages. There’s a Halloween theme, but there are other customized floats including a Pat O’Brien’s float.
Admission: General admission is $85. 1st tasting (entry happens one hour before general admission) is $105. VIP tickets (gourmet desserts and private bars/bathrooms) are $135.
Location: Lafreniere Park
The Lowdown: Aficionados of Mexican cuisine can sample unlimited taco tastes and signature cocktails from some of New Orleans’ finest restaurants. Participating restaurants include Johnny Sanchez, Felipe’s, Rock-n-Taco, The Fillmore, City Pork, Alma, Barracuda Taco Stand, and more. Attendees can vote for their favorites in four separate categories: Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Vegetarian Taco, and Top Cocktail. There will also be three stages of music, tequila lounge areas, and a tent dedicated to mezcal tasting.
Brews and Boos
Admission: General admission tickets are $35. VIP tickets are $60 (full open bar, seating, and special treats)
Location: City Park
The Lowdown: Are you a child at heart who’d have a blast enjoying adults-only access to City Park’s Carousel Gardens amusement park? Brews and Boos have you covered. This 9 p.m.-midnight event is open only to adults 21 and older. Aside from the fun rides, there will also be a costume contest, unlimited beers, and a DJ.
New Orleans Film Festival
Nov. 3-8 (in-person), Nov. 3-13 (virtual)
Admission: Tickets can be purchased for individual screenings via the website (prices can vary depending on the film). New Orleans Film Society members get discounts. An all-access pass is $280 for New Orleans Film Society members and $330 for non-members.
Location: The Prytania Theater, The Broad Theater, The Broadside, Jazz Market New Orleans
The Lowdown: New Orleans cinephiles can celebrate the 33rd annual New Orleans Film Festival. This year’s fest will have in-person screenings from Nov. 3-8 and virtual screenings from Nov. 3-13. This year’s lineup will feature over 145 films. Previous festivals have featured future Oscar winners like “12 Years A Slave,” “Green Book,” “Moonlight,” “Whiplash,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “King Richard,” as well as future box office smashes like “Knives Out” and “Ford vs. Ferrari.” A collection of independent features and shorts will be featured as well with a strong emphasis on highlighting the work of talented local filmmakers.
Abita Fall Fest
Admission: General admission for a 2-day pass is $40 until Nov. 3. As of press time, the day of/at the gate price for general admission was not listed. VIP passes are only available for Saturday and cost $90 until November 3rd and $100 on the day of or at the gate. A Friday-only pass costs $20 until Nov. 3 and $25 on the day of or at the gate. A Saturday-only pass costs $25 until Nov. 3 and $30 on the day or at the gate. Kids 10 and under get in free on Friday. On Saturday, kids under 3 get in free. Tickets for kids ages 4-10 cost $15 on Saturday regardless of the date purchased.
Location: Downtown Abita Springs
The Lowdown: If you’re willing to take a trip to the Northshore, try the Abita Fall Fest on November 4-5. Musical guests include the Imagination Movers, Flow Tribe, Rebirth Brass Band, and Washboard Chaz. If you’re a football fan and concerned about missing the LSU game, don’t worry! The festival’s Tiger Tailgate offers a designated area to watch the game. There will also be a kids’ area with all sorts of fun games for the family. The Harvest Matchup area will feature games like football, archery, and Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Admission: $40 for early bird tickets, $50 for regular tickets, $60 at the gate.
Location: Crescent Park
The Lowdown: New Orleans’ celebration of Caribbean culture returns for its 20th anniversary. Caribbean food, music, and dance will be a part of the event. Musical acts include Farmer Nappy & Band, Craig Camacho, MC, Trinette Zakiya, Peoplez Choice, Madd Colors Carnival Band, DJ Lady Pepper Tree, and DJ Ray.
Oak Street Po-Boy Festival
Admission: A wristband is needed to order po-boys. Early-bird wrist band prices cost $5, pre-sale wrist bands cost $8. Wrist bands the day of the event cost $10. Attendees also pay for any individual po-boys they order.
Location: Oak Street’s commercial corridor.
The Lowdown: After a two-year hiatus, the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival is set to return to Riverbend. The festival will feature over 40 food vendors, four stages of music, an arts market and a kids’ zone. Some of the returning vendors include Parkway Bakery and Mahoney’s. George Porter, Jr. will be one of the musical acts. Special programming will also highlight the history of the po-boy.
Admission: Some events are free, but others require a ticket. Prices for game tickets vary depending on seating.
Location: Caesars Superdome and other locations downtown
The Lowdown: The Bayou Classic weekend once again arrives after Thanksgiving. Yes, Grambling and Southern will face off on the gridiron in the Superdome, and there will be a battle of the bands during the game. But the weekend is more than that. There will be a Bayou Classic parade downtown on the morning of the 26th. There will also be a fan festival in Champions Square and a vendors’ village.
Celebration in the Oaks
Nov. 26-Jan. 1
Admission: Tickets go on sale Nov. 1. Check the website in October for up-to-date information on 2022 pricing.
Location: City Park
The Lowdown: Christmas lights will blanket in City Park in the park’s biggest fundraiser. While no information was available as of press time on any new features in 2022, if past experience is any indicator, visitors will enjoy a breathtaking lights display and rides in City Park’s Carousel Gardens.
Festival of the Bonfires
Admission: $5 daily entry
Location: Lutcher Recreational Park
The Lowdown: Make a short trip down the river to Lutcher to celebrate Christmas Cajun-style. The bonfires, part of a rich tradition, are meant to light the way for Papa Noel as he delivers presents to all the good boys and girls. There will also be a gumbo cook-off, a gingerbread contest, a children’s pageant, amusement park rides, lots of live music, and arts and crafts.
NOLA Christmas Fest
Admission: $25 during weekdays and $30 on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets can ONLY be purchased online.
Location: Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
The Lowdown: Once again, NOLA Christmas Fest will offer 300,000 square feet of holiday-themed rides, giant ice slides, a real ice-skating rink, and holiday decorations designed to melt the heart of even the grouchiest grinch. There will be two sessions each day: a timed-entry morning one and an evening one. The event will be completely cashless, so bring your credit card!
Farther Afield Festivals
Baytowne Beer Festival
Admission: $55 general admission for Friday only ($65 on the day of the event if available); $45 general admission for Saturday only ($55 on the day of the event if available); $85 for the VIP event on Saturday; $95 for a two-day general admission ticket.
Location: Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin, FL
The Lowdown: Over 200 domestic and international craft beers will be on hand at this festival. Brewery reps will be available to talk to festival-goers about the different brews. A beer tasting glass is included with all tickets.
Mississippi Renaissance Festival
Admission: $15 adult single-day general admission (plus fees, does not include discounts for wearing Renaissance Festival garb or the Mississippi Renaissance Festival 2022 Towne Shirts); $8 kids ages 7-16 single-day general admission (plus fees); free for kids under 7; $30 adult weekend pass (plus fees); $20 kids ages 7-16 weekend pass
Location: Harrison County Fairgrounds, Gulfport, MS
The Lowdown: Take a day trip to Gulfport and a trip back in time to the Mississippi Renaissance Festival. There will be all sorts of medieval-themed activities the entire family can enjoy.
Festivals Acadiens et Creoles
Location: Girard Park, Lafayette, LA
The Lowdown: This is one of the largest Cajun and Creole cultural celebrations in the continental United States and one of the largest free public events in Louisiana. Attendees can expect great food and great music all weekend long.
Greater Gulf State Fair
Oct. 28-Nov. 6
Admission: $8 adult admission (advance, ages 11 & up); $4 child admission (advance, ages 5-10); $25 pay one price unlimited ride wristband (advance); $49.99 twofer pass (two general admission tickets and two unlimited ride wristbands)
Location: The Grounds, Mobile, AL
The Lowdown: If you want an old-fashioned state fair experience, make the 2-hour drive to Mobile for rides, food, and live music at the Greater Gulf State Fair.
Baytowne Sparkling Wine Fest and Holiday Lights
Admission: Ticket prices not disclosed as of press time.
Location: Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin, FL
The Lowdown: If the Baytowne Beer Festival sounded fun to you, but you either didn’t have time to make the trip to Florida that weekend or you’re more of a wine guy/gal, then check this out. There will be over 30 champagnes and delicious appetizers available. The event ends with the first tree lighting of the season and a choreographed light show.