Here in New Orleans, we go by different seasons than the rest of the country. What some call “summer,” we know as festival season, with different fests pretty much every weekend providing great food and great fun. Even though we’ve now officially entered Saints season, the good news is, the festivals keep on coming! With pretty much just as many options to choose from as the summertime, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed. Lucky for you, #FrayLife is here with our roundup of the ten fall festivals you won’t want to miss. You’re welcome!
Bayou St. John, 10/4, 10/5, 10/11, 10/12, 10/18, 10/19
German food, German music, and most importantly, German beer abounds at this fest celebrating all things Deutschland. Presented each year by Deutsches Haus on beautiful Bayou St. John, some of the highlights include the Masskrugstemmen (beer stein holding contest), sing-a-longs, and the Dachshund (Weiner dog) races. Prost!
2. Beignet Fest
City Park Festival Grounds, 10/05, 10:00am- 6:00pm
Is there anything better than a piping hot beignet straight out of the fryer with a mountain of powdered sugar on top? Enjoy the New Orleans classic more sweet and savory ways than you can count (fresh seafood-stuffed, anyone?) served up by a variety of local vendors while enjoying live music and browsing the arts market. All proceeds benefit the Tres Doux Foundation.
3. Gentilly Fest
Pontchartrain Park, 10/11- 10/13
First started in 2007 to support local first responders, this free, family-friendly fest has expanded to a celebration of the Gentilly neighborhood that promotes small business awareness and community rebuilding and growth. Expect great local food and great local music with an emphasis on Gentilly culture, as well as a bustling art market and kids village.
4. NOLA Mac N’ Cheese Fest
Louis Armstrong Park,10/12, 11:00am- 6:00pm
Back for its third year, this newcomer festival has quickly grown into a fall staple. The live music and arts market are great, and this year debuts a kid’s unified play area presented by Special Olympics Louisiana, but the star of the show is the wide variety of down-home gooey, creamy, cheesy goodness cooked up by local restaurants. Who will win this year’s coveted Macaron trophy? You’ll have to attend to find out!
5. New Orleans Film Festival
Various Locations, 10/16- 10/23
They don’t call us Hollywood South for nothing! Celebrating 30 years, the mission of the Oscar-qualifying NOFF is to “discover, cultivate, and amplify diverse voices of filmmakers who tell the stories of our time.” More than 200 films will be screened over the course of the fest at theaters all over the city. Be sure to see the Louisiana made centerpiece film, Burning Cane, and closing night film Harriet. The full line up can be found online.
6. Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival
Lafayette Square Park, 10/18- 10/20
This free fest is presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation (the same group who bring you Jazz Fest every year), so you know the food will be delicious and the music will be killer. Headliners the Allman Betts Band take the stage on Saturday night, but all of the acts are sure to impress!
7. Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
City Park Festival Grounds, 10/25- 10/27
Like Coachella or Lollapalooza, with a New Orleans twist, Voodoo Fest has been rocking the Big Easy since 1999. This year’s headliners include Guns n’ Roses, Beck, The National, and Post Malone, and others on multiple stages in the park. Check out our post for more details on the full Voodoo experience.
8. Bayou Bacchanal
Crescent Park, 11/01- 11/02
New Orleans is considered by many the furthest north Caribbean island, and this vibrant cultural collision bursts to life each year at Bayou Bacchanal, the “original Caribbean Festival of New Orleans,” known for “authentic Caribbean and authentic vibes.” Don’t miss the parade on Saturday morning full of Soca music, regional dancing, and incredible bejeweled and feathered Carnival costumes.
9. Louisiana Renaissance Festival
Hammond, Weekends 11/02- 12/08
It’s well worth the trip across the lake to visit the “best festival in history!” Don your corset or suit of armor and get ready to party like it’s 1599 with jousting, shopping, and flagons of ale. Check out our post for the full ren fair details.
10. Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival
Louis Armstrong Park, 11/16- 11/17, 11:00am- 7:30pm
Teaming up this year with the Congo Square Rhythms Festival (also presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation), this year’s fest will be bigger and better than ever. Celebrating Faubourg Tremé, the US’s oldest neighborhood of free African Americans and birthplace of jazz, as well as “the New Orleans traditions that spring from the African’s diaspora,” this festival will be a joyful explosion of music, food, and art. Don’t miss the traditional African drumming and dance as well as the Mardi Gras Indian “battle.” Oh, and did we mention all of the amazing gumbo?
What fests are on your can’t miss list? Share with us in the comments and tag #FrayLife and #NOLAFray on social.