And just like that, festival season has settled over New Orleans faster than a fine layer of pollen on your freshly washed vehicle. While the next few months will usher in many fine occasions to put on your finest fanny pack and Hawaiian print shirt from French Quarter Fest to Bayou Boogaloo here's a look at five food and drink festivals happening that you won't want to miss in the next two weekends alone. From Hogs For The Cause at City Park, to the 2nd annual street food competition The Vendy Awards at the French Market, these are five great events, showcasing some of New Orleans best chefs, food trucks, craft brewers and more.
Hogs For The Cause
When: This Friday/Saturday, March 28-29
Where: City Park Festival Grounds
What: Now in its seventh year, the amazing hog roast turned amazing Festival, takes over City Park's festival grounds for two days of fundraising to support families of children with pediatric cancer. Friday night features a giant cocktail party with live music and a separate (sold out) seafood gala, and Saturday's main event features a giant pork cook-off, food and beverage for purchase, with tons of great music including Pat Green, The Hold Steady, and the North Mississippi Allstars.
Cost: $15-$150, available for purchase here
NOLA Food Festival
When: March 28-30
Where: French Market/Quarter
What:This free event returns to the French Market with tons of road food for purchase, including local faves Woody's Fish Tacos, The Fry Bar, and Plum Street Snoballs, plus live entertainment. A beignet eating contest, which pits New Orleans and Jefferson Parish firefighters against each other, is scheduled for Sunday, March 30, at 12:30 p.m. This year a fundraiser/opening soiree on Friday night at 8 p.m., called "America's Hometown Sweets," will benefit Cafe Reconcile at $50/ticket.
Cost: Free admissions, food/beverage for purchase
The Vendy Awards
When: French Market
Where: April 3, 7-9 p.m.
What: Atendees vote for the best street food in New Orleans during this fun filled night of gluttony. Finalists include Crepes a la cart, Empanada Intifada, Food Drunk Food Truck, Foodie Call, Frencheeze Food Truck, Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls, La Cocinita, Miss Linda (AKA The Ya-Ka-Mein Lady), and The Nola Truck.
Cost: $6-$65, purchase tickets here
Brooklyn Brewery Mash
When: March 29-April 5
Where: dba, Avenue Pub, One Eyed Jacks, Howlin Wolf, NOLA Brewing, and elsewhere
What: Tons of events from a 'dinner on the farm' with Chef Andrew Gerson and Dante's Eman Loubier, a Dinner Lab slow food supper, lots of tasting events from Rouses to Avenue Pub, a found footage film festival, stand-up comedy, beer school, and even a FREE performance by Brooklyn guitar virtuoso Marnie Stern at One Eyed Jacks.
Cost: Varies from mostly free to $65 (for dinners) based on event
Freret Street Festival
When: April 5
Where: Freret Street form Napoleon to Jefferson
What: Tons of vendors join forces with Freret's finest, including Dat Dog, Salita's, Liberty Cheesesteaks and more for a day of food, drink, live music, and strolling. Now in its 17th year, Freret Fest expands all the way to Jefferson to make way for more foot traffic. Expect arts/crafts for purchase, and a free kids area. Bring the sunscreen.
Cost: Free, food/beverage for purchase
Also On Deck
· Louisiana Oyster Jubilee: Get a taste of a block long oyster po' boy created by many local chefs on Saturday, March 29, on the 300 block of Bourbon at noon.
· Zapp's International Beerfest: Over 200 foreign/domestic brews at LSU's Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge, also on Saturday, March 29, from 3:30-6 p.m.
· All Fess Time Coverage [-ENOLA-]