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Tourists enjoying the New Orleans French Quarter

Upcoming New Orleans Festivals: May and June

New Orleans Wine and Food Experience 2016New Orleans Wine and Food Experience 2016. ©Brandt Images – All Rights Reserved.

New Orleans doesn’t get the record-breaking numbers of visitors annually (10.45 million in 2016!) without good reason. One of the reasons people flock to our city is its seemingly never-ending string of festivals all year round. Despite the soaring temps the month of June alone has five festivals — four of which are happening in the French Quarter.

Below are nine upcoming New Orleans festivals coming up in the second half of May and in June, in chronological order. Not all are taking place in the French Quarter, but those are still a short streetcar or bike/cab ride away, like Bayou Boogaloo in Mid-City or Essence at the Superdome.

Bayou Boogaloo

When: May 19-21

Where: Mid-City, along Bayou St. John at Orleans Ave. and N. Jefferson Davis Pkwy.

Schedule: Friday 5-8 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Just like in its previous years, the 12th annual Bayou Boogaloo will have a stellar lineup of live music and food. It’s a weekend-long, free outdoor party — pet- and kid-friendly — with kayak races, a kids’ stage, and arts and crafts activities. The four stages will host some of the best musicians in the city, including Jon Cleary& the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Tank & the Bangas, and New Breed Brass Band.

The section along the bayou between Orleans and Dumaine streets will host craft booths. The food vendors include some of the best restaurants in the city, like Boswell’s Jamaican Grill, Mopho and Ralph’s on the Park, plus snowball and lemonade booths, and plenty of booths with adult beverages.

New Orleans Wine and Food Experience

When: May 25-28

Where: French Quarter, various locations

Schedule: Varies by event; check the event website

Cost: Packages start at $185; individual events start at $75

With the hundreds of local restaurants and international and domestic wineries participating in this annual event, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience has raised more than $1.2 million for local nonprofit organizations, from culinary schools to food banks. The 25th festival will feature dinners with wine pairings in participating restaurants, and wine seminars and tastings.

Highlights include the Royal Street Stroll on Friday starting at 5:30 p.m., a parade led by the Krewe of Cork down the 200-900 blocks of Royal St. There will also be a tasting of wine and food pairings on Saturday at Mardi Gras World. The Big Gateaux Show on Saturday, starting at 9 p.m. at the Marriott Convention Center Ballroom, is a pastry competition (for a $5K prize) featuring celebrity chefs, cocktails and burlesque.

Bayou Country Superfest

When: May 26-28

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Schedule: View it here

Cost: Tickets start at $45

In its 8th year, Bayou Country Superfest is relocating this year from the LSU’s Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge to the Superdome in New Orleans’ Downtown/CBD district. This Memorial Day weekend fest will feature the best of country music, with headliners including Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. There will be a free kick-off celebration on Friday at the nearby Champions Square.

Greek Fest

When: May 26-28

Where: Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, 1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Lakeview

Schedule: Fri. 5-11 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Cost: $7 per day; $17 weekend pass

Yet another option for the Memorial Day weekend, this annual tradition beloved by locals is worth the trip to Lakeview for its food, music, cooking demos, Hellenic dance performances, and even a toga contest. Expect traditional Greek music featuring bouzouki guitar, dancers in traditional costume, and kid activities. Greek staples like souvlaki, baklava, spanakopita, and gyro will be served.

Oyster Festival

When: June 3-4

Where: Woldenberg Riverfront Park, French Quarter

Schedule: 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Slurp and savor everything oysters at this two-day free fest featuring live music, arts and crafts, and oyster shucking and eating competitions. Bonerama and Brass-A-Holics are part of the lineup; there will also be cooking demos and a Largest Oyster Contest.

The food vendor lineup this year is as good as ever, and includes shrimp and oyster po-boys by Acme Oyster House, oyster stew and crawfish pies from Luke, soft-shell crab po-boys from Ajun Cajun, Antoine’s famous Shrimp Regua, and the always-amazing charbroiled oysters from Drago’s.

New Orleans Pride

When: June 9-11

Where: French Quarter and Longue Vue House & Gardens (family day only)

Schedule: Varies by event

Cost: Free (except kickoff party and post-parade brunch/keynote)

New Orleans Pride celebrates the city’s LGBT community and keeps growing every year. The weekend events include a kick-off costume dance party on Friday night (tickets $15-$25); a rally and a parade on Saturday, and a Family Equality Day at Longue Vue House & Gardens on Sunday. The Family Equality Day will feature food and drink vendors, plus kids’ activities and Pride Awards.

French Market Creole Tomato Festival

When: June 10-11

Where: French Market (from St. Peter to Barracks streets), French Quarter

Schedule: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Traditionally held on the second weekend of June, the 31tst Annual French Market Creole Tomato Festival welcomes the arrival of Creole tomato that Louisiana loves to incorporate into many local recipes. The French Market location and the food offerings make this a popular festival among the locals and visitors alike. The festival features live music and cooking demos in addition to an extensive menu of Creole tomato incorporated into gelato, crepes, crawfish pies, and Bloody Marys. The two favorites — fried green tomatoes, and Creole tomato with shrimp salad — are coming back this year.

Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival

When: June 24–25

Where: Louis Armstrong Park, 701 N. Rampart St.

Schedule: 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Produced and presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival features top Cajun and Zydeco musicians from New Orleans and Acadiana on two stages, plus a big arts market, cooking demos, and numerous food options from local vendors with emphasis on Cajun and Creole food.

Essence Festival

When: June 29-July 2

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Schedule: Varies by event; check the event website

Cost: Ticket packages start at $126

Gear up for the best in R&B, hip-hop, jazz, and blues. The always-impressive music lineup this year includes Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, Chance The Rapper, Solange, Jill Scott, and John Legend. New Orleans’ own Trombone Shorty is also scheduled to perform. The fest will feature a packed schedule of seminars and celebrity DJ parties. This year’s speakers include Reverend Al Sharpton and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, among many others. The areas in and around the Superdome will again turn into temporary arts and crafts markets.

 
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