Falling for Festivals
The best of the season
New Orleans Burlesque Festival
Admission: Ticket prices vary depending on individual shows ($20-$62)
Location: Various venues including House of Blues and the Civic Theatre
Best Bet: The “Belle of the Ball” show is the closing event and highlights dancers from around the world competing for the championship, which is voted on by previous winners and members of the audience.
Lagniappe: New Orleans’ own burlesque legend Rita “The Champagne Girl” Alexander will be at the festival signing autographs and meeting attendees.
NOLA On Tap
Admission: $5 (drink tickets not included), $30 VIP pass, children 12 and under free
Location: City Park Festival Grounds
Best Bet: Obviously, the beer. But more specifically, there will be a number of lesser known beer varieties, including some homemade brews that festival-goers might not get to try elsewhere.
Lagniappe: The Barktoberfest tent features many pup-friendly activities including a dog costume contest, games, water, and even Pupular’s speed dating (to arrange future play dates between dogs).
Fried Chicken Fest
Admission: Free except for the Moet Chicken & Champagne VIP Lounge
Location: Woldenberg Riverfront Park
Best Bet: If you love fried chicken but are equally devoted to your favorite college and pro football teams, visit the AT&T Football Fan Zone to enjoy your chicken while watching college games on Saturday and the Saints game on Sunday.
Lagniappe: If you would one day like to cook your own delicious fried chicken, visit the cooking demonstrations.
Art for Art’s Sake
Admission: Free and open to the public
Location: Various galleries on Magazine Street and in the Warehouse/Arts District
Best Bet: If you like the idea of White Linen Night, but find the heat and crowds a bit stifling, give Art for Art’s Sake a shot. The weather is usually cooler and the crowds are typically thinner because it’s held during college football season. New Orleans has some wonderful art galleries and the event is a nice excuse to visit them.
Lagniappe: Art for Art’s Sake is free, but the Contemporary Arts Center has its own party to go along with the event that is free to members and costs only $10 for non-members. Live music is a part of the festivities.
Treme Fall Fest
Admission: Free except for the patron party on Oct. 5, which is $125 at the door and $100 in advance.
Location: St. Augustine Church
Best Bet: The street festival is on Oct. 6 with live music from a wide variety of artists, including John Boutte at 4:30, the Batiste Brothers at 1:05, and Dwayne Dopsie Zydeco at 6:00.
Lagniappe: For fans of gospel music, Oct. 7 features a Mass at 10 a.m. followed by a concert from noon to 3 p.m.
Admission: Free. Beverages and food is available for purchase inside.
Location: City Park’s Festival Grounds
Best Bet: If your heart and arteries can handle it, try the absolutely sinful bananas Foster beignet from the Ruby Slipper’s booth. Another great option is the crawfish beignet from the Legacy Kitchen booth.
Lagniappe: The Beignet Fest prides itself on being an event for everyone. There are accommodations for guests with disabilities, as well as sensory-friendly activities for children with developmental delays in the festival’s Kids Village.
Location: Pontchartrain Park Playground
Best Bet: Saturday Oct. 13 will feature the Gentilly Fest 5K race in the morning, great music during the day (try the gospel tent!), and a fireworks show at night.
Lagniappe: The kids’ area features fun stuff like a New Orleans Fire Department truck, pony rides, and much more.
World War II Air, Sea and Land Festival
Admission: $17 general admission; $13 for military, students, WWII Museum Members, and senior citizens; free for WWII veterans and children 12 and under
Location: New Orleans Lakefront airport
Best Bet: See 25 of the rarest WWII aircraft in existence, including the B-29, P-51 and the B-25.
Lagniappe: Every year, attendees include WWII veterans. Last year, those veterans included Women’s Auxiliary Service pilots and Pearl Harbor survivors.
Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival
Admission: Free, except for the VIP experience
Location: Lafayette Square Park
Best Bet: World-renowned guitar slinger Jimmie Vaughn, who will be performing at Madison Square Garden with Eric Clapton before his trip to NOLA, will be making his debut at the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
Lagniappe: The 93-year-old Baton Rouge pianist Henry Gray shows you’re never too old to jam in a show on Oct. 14 at 4:30 p.m.
New Orleans Film Festival
Admission: Regular screenings $13 ($10 for New Orleans Film Society members), matinee screenings $10 ($7 for New Orleans Film Society members), all access pass $320 ($270 for New Orleans Film Society members)
Location: The Prytania Theater, The Broad Theater, Cinebarre Canal Place, The New Orleans Advocate building
Best Bet: The full lineup has not yet been disclosed at press time, but a few titles have been announced. The True Don Quixote is a Louisiana-shot film starring Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou) about a lonely man who loses his mind and sets off on a quest for love and glory.
Lagniappe: The elegant opening party will be held at the expansive new ballroom in the recently renovated Jung Hotel on Canal Street.
NOLA Mac ’N’ Cheese Fest
Admission: Free. Food and beverages are availble for purchase inside.
Location: Armstrong Park
Best Bet: The official menu for this year’s fest is not out yet, but it’s a good idea to try some of the more creative mac ’n’ cheese dishes. Some at the 2017 fest included mac ’n cheese cupcakes, crawfish mac ’n’ cheese, and smoked brisket mac ’n’ cheese.
Lagniappe: If you’re thinking to yourself that there’s no reason for you to go to the Mac ’N’ Cheese Fest because you’re a vegan, think again! This year’s fest will have a vegan option available for guests.
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
Admission: $140 for a 3-day general admission ticket, $400 for a 3-day LOA VIP ticket, $1350 for a 3-day platinum ticket
Location: City Park
Best Bet: Hip-hop superstar Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover) has been a hot commodity this year with his incendiary “This is America” music video and his performance as Lando Calrissian in Solo. He’s one of the headliners at this year’s Voodoo Fest.
Lagniappe: On Oct. 25 at 7 p.m., the fest is holding Feast Under the Stars. It’s a 5-course meal on festival grounds as final preparations are made for the event. The food will be made by award-winning chef Aaron Sanchez and will feature wine-pairings and dessert.
Hell Yes Fest
1st 3 Weekends in November
Admission: Prices will vary, but none will be over $12
Location: Multiple locations in the Marigny
Best Bet: The lineup of performers has not been set yet, but past highlights have included Sarah Silverman and Nick Swardson.
Lagniappe: In past years, the comedy festival has been on a single weekend, but this year it will be spread out over three weekends to give it a feel similar to that of world-famous festivals like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Boudin, Bourbon, and Beer
Admission: Ticket prices not yet announced
Location: Champions Square
Best Bet: The event’s sponsor is Abita, and they will be featuring their favorite brews, as well as their seasonal favorites and some special cask selections.
Lagniappe: There will be more chefs attending than in any prior year, with over 70 participating. There will also be additional dessert stations available.
Oak Street Po Boy Festival
Admission: Entrance to Oak Street is free, but a $5 wristband must be purchased in order to buy a poor boy.
Location: Oak Street on the river side of Carrollton
Best Bet: The winner for best seafood poor boy in 2017 was Red Fish Grill’s BBQ oyster poor boy and the winner for best sausage poor boy was Bratz Y’all’s drunk pig poor boy.
Lagniappe: Poor boys aren’t the only things for sale at the Po Boy Fest. The Where Y’Arts Market will be returning this year for anyone looking to buy some quirky arts and crafts.
Treme Creole Gumbo Festival
Location: Armstrong Park
Best Bet: Cooking a good gumbo is a challenging, time-consuming process. Check out the “gumbosium” to see cooking demonstrations and get tips from skilled chefs (and of course eat some gumbo, too).
Lagniappe: The Treme Creole Gumbo Festival is the only festival whose music lineup consists entirely of brass bands.
Celebration in the Oaks
Nov. 23-Jan.1 (closed Nov. 26-29, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve)
Admission: $9, free for children under 3 and Friends of City Park members
Location: City Park
Best Bet: Part of the fun of Celebration in the Oaks is going on the rides in Storyland. For $27, you get admission to Celebration in the Oaks and an unlimited ride band (single tickets for the train are $5 and single tickets for other rides are $4).
Lagniappe: Did you know it takes 8 months of preparation and a total of 558,350 LED bulbs to create Celebration in the Oaks’ dazzling light show?
NOLA Christmas Fest
Admission: $20, which includes all rides.
Location: Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
Best Bet: Ice skating is not an activity New Orleanians get to try much, so the festival’s ice skating rink is worth a look for anyone adventurous enough to strap on some ice skates.
Lagniappe: Do you like watching curling during the Winter Olympics and wish you could try it in the Crescent City? This year at Christmas Fest, you can try your skill at the popular winter sport on a synthetic curling rink.