A Festival Buffet By T.K. Hatfield A visit to New Orleans this summer and fall means food, fun, and festivals. No matter what you’re into, entertainment awaits!

For music lovers, the Cajun & Zydeco Festival June 24-25th in Louis Armstrong Park (www.jazzandheritage.org/cajun-zydeco) celebrates the traditional local sounds of fiddles, accordions, washboards and guitars. Next up is Essence Fest July 1-3rd (www.essence.com/festival-2017), which is a huge celebration including empowerment speakers and an Entrepreneur and Business Conference. The nights are for partying in the Superdome to R&B and Hip Hop headliners like John Legend, Diana Ross, Shaggy, and many more. The Satchmo Summerfest comes along in August, filling the French Quarter with a celebration honoring the man, his music, and his legacy in this community from the 3 – 6th (www.nola.com/satchmofest/) Of course, all of these feature local cuisine and works from Louisiana artists.

If food is your passion, pack your stretchy pants and come on over to Oyster Fest in June! This event is held the 3rd and 4th, and celebrates the local delicacy and the oyster farmers who keep the region well supplied (www.nolaoysterfest.org/). July 7-9th, the San Fermin in Nueva Orleans, or “Running of the Bulls” pays homage to the famous event in Pamplona, Spain and is not to be missed. Full disclosure, there are no actual bulls in this event. The bulls are portrayed by the Big Easy Rollergirls, a New Orleans-based all-female roller derby team (www.nolabulls.com). Tales of the Cocktail, also held in July, mid-month from the 18th to the 23rd, has grown from a small gathering of cocktail lovers in 2002 to billing itself as the “world’s premier cocktail festival”. It features lectures, seminars and other networking events for the exchange of new ideas, products and techniques. Book signings, tastings and dinner pairings highlight a troupeau of amazing cocktail creations (www.talesofthecocktail.com). If that isn’t enough for you, fall is brings with it the Louisiana Seafood Festival in City Park (date TBD), and my husband’s personal favorite, the Fried Chicken Festival September 23 and 24th in Woldenberg Park (www.friedchickenfestival.com). For all you gumbo lovers, the festival season finale is the Treme Creole Gumbo Festival, (www.jazzandheritage.org/treme-gumbo) bringing it all home November 18 - 19th in Louis Armstrong Park with jazz, brass bands and all the gumbo you can eat. Smaller but no less exciting festivals honor the creole tomato, June 10-11th (www.frenchmarket.org/event/30th-annual-creole-tomato-festival), the mirliton (it’s a squash) in November (date TBD) (neworleansonline.com/neworleans/festivals/festivals), the beignet in City Park (date TBD), mac ‘n cheese in Louis Armstrong Park Oct 21st, and that amazing staple of the New Orleans table, the po-boy on Oak Street (date TBD).

For arts lovers, don’t miss the Whitney White Linen Night in the Arts District on August 5th (www.experienceneworleans.com/white-linen-night.html). Stroll through the galleries in your finest cool, white linen trying not to spill your wine! Nipping at its heels is the Dirty Linen Night on August 13th (experienceneworleans.com/dirty-linen-night.html), the French Quarters tongue-in-cheek answering call. August closes with the NOLA Downtown Music and Arts Festival in the Warehouse District and Central Business District (date TBD) (www.cuttingedgenola.com/nola-downtown-festival/). The New Orleans Burlesque Festival is a French Quarter must see, September 14-17th (www.neworleansburlesquefest.com). The year rounds out with faux/real November 3-13th (www.fauxrealnola.com), highlighting the avant-garde and genre-bending acts held at various venues across the city.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of the festival buffet in New Orleans, so if your travel plans include South Louisiana any time of the year, surely there’s a festival that fits your interests. No matter where your travel plans take you, as they say in The Big Easy, laissez le bon temps rouler!
In business since 1978, McAlpin Interiors is located at 405 S. Palafox, Pensacola, FL. Call them at (850) 438-8345, or visit online at facebook.com/mcalpininteriors.

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