Visitors can always find a good time in New Orleans. This year, Mardi Gras celebrations kicked off another spring season in the French Quarter, signaling the beginning of the warmer, festive months ahead.
Every year in the Big Easy, festivals, heritage and community events fill up the calendar for many locals. Like other years, summer 2017 in NOLA is on track to be eventful with a handful of fun and unique events scheduled. Whether you’re a local or a first-time visitor, we’ve got a list of enthralling events that you should check out this summer in the NOLA.
Cajun Zyedeco Fest
The festival celebrates the sounds and heritage of Cajun and Zydeco music. Attendees may listen to the melodies of fiddles, accordions, washboards, and guitars originating from over 200 years of music traditions from Germany and Poland, and evolving into the Zydeco instrumentation we know today. In addition to Cajun melodies, Zydeco includes influences of R&B, soul, rock, jazz, and gospel.
The event also hosts several Cajun food vendors. Louisiana oysters, shrimp, catfish and other seafood will be on the menu. Ten savory food vendors and four dessert restaurants will be set up at the event. A large craft fair with handcrafted art, jewelry, and other crafts that celebrate bayou culture will be on sale. Guests are asked to purchase food and beverages to keep the festival free. Still curious? Check out the list of scheduled performers, food vendors, and artists. Guests are encouraged to bring camping or folding chairs to the event.
When: June 24-25, 11:30-6PM
Where: Louis Armstrong Park
San Fermin en Nueva Orleans
In solidarity with the world famous Encierro of Pamplona, Spain tradition, the Annual Running of the Bulls is hosted each July in New Orleans. Instead of bulls, NOLA all-female flat-track derby team chases participants through the streets of the downtown district as spectators watch and cheer on the runners. If the Big Easy Rollergirls catch up with the slowest runners along the 12-block stretch in the French Quarter, they’re allowed to whack the runners with soft-foam wiffle ball bats. Keeping in the fun spirit of New Orleans, this event is meant to be less dangerous than the original.
The run is held at 8 AM with festivities the day before and following the event. Sangria, Spanish wine, tapas, and time with friends are celebrated at this event. A $15 fee is required to participate in the run–along with your courage! A percentage of the proceeds go towards Animal Rescue New Orleans.
Afterwards, Several wine dinners, themed parties, and Sunday brunches are offered in the area for you to enjoy the scenic views and warm weather. Register beforehand and find out more about the special packages at NOLA Bulls site.
When: July (day TBA)
Where: The French Quarter
Cost: Free for Spectators, $15 for Participants
The Essence Festival is one of the biggest annual festivals in NOLA. Hosted by Essence Magazine, the festival is a premiere showcase for contemporary African American music and culture. It also seeks to empower African American women and men with speeches about personal success. This year’s lineup includes Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, Solange, Chance the Rapper, and more performers. Check out the arts and crafts on display. Essence fest is one-of-a-kind of events where you’ll find unique arts and crafts along with vendors including artists, writers, craftsman, culinary artists, and entrepreneurs that represent the culture of African diaspora.
New Orleans is a city full of sites. Museum Month is a fun collaboration between various museums across the NOLA area that lets you explore the gems in world art collections. Museum members are offered free access with two guests into the museum for the whole month. If you’re not already a member then you can join to get into all participating museums for free. The museums that are participating this year include Audubon Nature Center, The National WWII Museum, NOMA, and Ogden Museum of Southern Art among many others! It’s worth it to support cultural archives that you may go back to see repeatedly!
You can also join in on the fun and tag yourself at the museums with #NOLAMuseumMonth on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
When: August 1-31
Where: Various NOLA Museums
Cost: Free with Membership
NOLA Downtown Music and Arts Festival
The end of the summer winds down with impressive acts showcased at the Downtown Music and Arts Festival in New Orleans Warehouse and Central Business districts. The Music Business Institute along with Cutting Edge C.E. Conference host the festival with popular musicians, pop-up arts, fashion, and craft shops and a slew of food trucks.
For 23 years, this festival has been a highlight of the NOLA festival scene. The event stretches along the streets from Fulton Street and Pizza d’Italia to Andrew Higgins Drive and Diamond Street. Although a private conference is held for Music Business and Entertainment Law professionals, the public is welcome to attend the free street events. Browse through food trucks, films, art, bowling, and shopping while you listen to the live music from local favorites.
Where: Downtown NOLA
Do these events entice you to join in on the New Orleans fun? You won’t find these events anywhere else in the United States so if you’re planning a trip, why not celebrate the multicultural heritage and history that NOLA has to offer? You’re guaranteed to have a good time this summer.