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French Quarter Fest. It's FREE. It starts tomorrow and goes to Sunday, April 12, and now in its 32nd year, the fess has morphed into a huge draw for locals and tourists alike, meaning there are some things you should know if a.) you've never been before and b.) you've been, but want to plot your day around exactly what food you'll be trying. Again, there are tons of local food vendors this year, along with a new, handy designated driver service for those who overindulge on Pat O'Brien's and Tropical Isle outposts popping throughout the festival area.

Here now, Eater offers a guide to all things food and drink at French Quarter Fest... We've rounded up all the latest local coverage, and included some other recommendations. So happy fessin' and keep it safe out there.

French Quarter Fest Food & Drink

For those in search of something new: Seven new vendors are on hand this year including Patoisboudin-stuffed fried chicken, pulled pork mac & cheese tots from Rue 127, cayenne crawfish tamales from the Westin New Orleans Canal Placefried chicken with potato salad or coleslaw from McHardy's Fried Chicken, Squeal, and Koz's RestaurantJudy Walker has the inside scoop with David Volion, owner of  Voleo's Seafood Restaurant out of Lafitte and gets more detail on the dishes he'll be serving, like crawfish eggrolls with sweet and sour sauce, smothered rabbit poboys and crawfish enchiladas with green chile meat sauce. According to Walker, "Volion has been 'beating on that door' to get into the French Quarter Fest for about three years. 'I guess I wore them down,' said Volion, who was finally invited to do a tasting. 'I went up there and presented what I had, and they enjoyed it all.'" [NOLA.com]

For sugar fiendsAshley Rouen with NoDef talks with Haydel Bakery owner David Haydel, Jr. about the concoctions this five-time FQF vendor will be serving, like large chocolate eclairs and white chocolate kingcake bread pudding. "Basically we take our king cake, one that hasn't been iced or decorated or anything like that, just the king cake dough and we make bread pudding out of it. We add white chocolate to it. Before it goes in the, oven we put the purple, green, and gold, so the sugar caramelizes on top, and you get a nice crunchy shell that keeps it really moist." [NOLA Defender]

For those who love to suck da heads: At high noon on Saturday, swing by Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint for Rouse's World Championship Crawfish Eating ContestJeannie Reiss goes behind the scenes to interview the local who won last year's competition, Domenica pastry chef Adrian Morgan, who bested professional competitive eater Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas after three years of trying. Turns out the locals might have an advantage in really understanding the crawfish. [Gambit]

For the grown up snoball lover: Plum Street Snoballs will be selling boozy icy treats, with your choice of Chambord, Southern Comfort Caramel, Finlandia, Jack Daniel's or Herradura tequila. [NOLA.com]

For those needing Hair of The DogPat O'Briens will be on hand with Bloody Marys. [NOLA.com]

For gluten-free: Try Galatoire's shrimp remoulade, Jacques-Imo's crab & artichoke salad, Three Muses' feta fries, and Bennachin's Jamaican jerk chicken with rice and veggies. [Official Website]

For adventurers who like to stay indoors: Check out newly opened restaurants in the Quarter, the Marigny, and the CBD/Warehouse District, including Angeline, Paladar 511, and Balise. [Gambit]

For the best post-fess drinking: Take a tiki tour by checking out Cane & Table, Latitude 29, and Tiki ToltecaOther Gambit themed bar crawls include ones for beer and a shot, and the classic Pimm's Cup crawl. [Gambit]

For the full food vendor listings: A list of all food at French Quarter Festival by stage area. [Official Website]

French Quarter Fest, Non-Food Related Coverage

For the lost souls: The official map of French Quarter Fest, plus links for a North Shore shuttle, bike parking, and more. [Official Website]

For history buffs: Errol Laborde discusses the history of French Quarter Fest and the political grumblings the fess has brought over the years. [MyNewOrleans.com]

For newbies: Offbeat provides all the musical acts from A-Z has also, a searchable database for looking up by day, act, or stage. If that's a little overwhelming, check out Gambit's recommended list of thirteen acts to catch. [Offbeat]

For fess veterans: The Times-Pic breaks down the logistical changes, additions, and subtractions, including new stages, more bike valet parking, and no free shuttles. [NOLA.com]

For events besides live music: The NOLA Jitterbugs will be cutting a rug while teaching the audience about dance, reports OffbeatThe Times-Pic reports on the activities taking place at a large kids' area on the Riverfront. Jeannie Riess provides info on free film screenings at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre on Fri/Sat/Sun. What's better than listening to music? Talking about it. Gambit reports on the panel discussions happening at the U.S. Mint on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, with a new one happening every hour. [Offbeat/NOLA.com/Gambit]

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