Autumn is (almost) in the air and there's lots to celebrate besides the eventual cooling down after 5 months of summer. Fried chicken, daiqs, beignets, beer, seafood, boudin.... and much, much more. Make your weekend plans and wear your comfy pants - this guide will bring you up to speed on excellent food festivals through mid-November.
Also make sure to check out Eater's guide to the city's most anticipated fall restaurant openings, which will be updated all season long with the hottest upcoming spots.
Don't see a festival that is going to be incredible? Leave a comment or send Eater a tip.
Details: Tales of the Cocktail continues the party through September by sponsoring and promoting New Orleans’ signature drink, the daiquiri. Poured frozen from a machine or made ever so carefully in a cocktail bar, the magic daiq does indeed deserve a month of homage, so get over to the schedule of events and see where this classic will be popping up every day through Sept. 30.
Date: September 1-30
Louisiana Seafood Festival
Location: City Park
Details: This Labor Day weekend celebrates the 10th year of this popular food event, which began in 2006 as the New Orleans Seafood Festival. Enjoy seafood (and a few non-seafood) dishes from food vendors like Drago’s, Galatoire’s, and Seither’s as well as cooking demos from chefs including Susan Spicer, Michael Gulotta, Tory McPhail, and Chris Lusk from the Caribbean Room. Live music rounds out the experience and proceeds from the event will go to help Louisiana flood victims.
Date: September 2-4
[Photo: Louisiana Hospitality Foundation.]
Location:The Old US Mint and the French Market
Details: The French Market hosts a free celebration of the bounty and influence of the Mississippi River. This year’s theme is "Oysters and the Future of our Coast" and features associated cooking demonstrations and lectures as well as live music. There will be multiple opportunities to observe proper shucking techniques and one of the lectures answers the question, "What Makes a Tasty Oyster?"
Date: September 10
[Photo: French Market Corporation]
NOLA On Tap
Details: The region’s largest beer festival closes out Louisiana Craft Brewers Week with a bang. The festival is organized and sponsored by the Bulldog and the LA SPCA, and is family- and dog- friendly. This year, there’s a small entry fee - $5 - for folks older than 12. And they’re implementing a cashless system for purchasing beer samples, which should be fun to navigate once a few of the 400+ beers available have been consumed.
Date: September 24
[Photo: Nora McGunnigle]
Fried Chicken Festival
Location: Lafayette Square
Details: This brand new festival is a no-brainer, because fried chicken, that’s why. It’s free to attend, features fried chicken from icons like Willie Mae’s and Lil’ Dizzy’s as well as versions from Company Burger, Koreole, Milkfish, and the Fry Bar. The music lineup is bananas awesome too, featuring Manny Fresh, Sweet Crude, and John Boutte.
Date: September 25
James Beard Foundation Night of Culinary Stars
Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel
Details: A bit on the swanky side, the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America series hits New Orleans with a dinner showcasing food from local and national chefs like Alex Guarnaschelli, Eric Damidot, and hometown James Beard-award winner Justin Devillier. Tickets are $300 but the proceeds go to a good cause.
Date: September 30
[Photo: Liz Bodet]
Location: Lafayette Square
Details: Another fried favorite gets its day with sweet traditional versions of New Orleans’ signature food as well as creative and savory interpretations. Cafe du Monde will be in attendance, along with Ye Olde College Inn, The Ruby Slipper and others. Music looks great, with Big Sam’s Funky Nation headlining. The festival is free to attend, with proceeds from food and beverage sales going to support the Tres Doux Foundation, which advocates for children with developmental disabilities like autism.
Date: October 8
Beer and Brat-Off
Location: Audubon Park
Details: Support the nonprofit We Heart Veterans and their work providing home health services to vets by indulging in some beers made by local brewers and brats cooked by local chefs. There will be ten teams pairing brats and beers, including Chappapeela Farms Brewery with Chappapeela Farms chef Tim Bordes, Bayou Teche Brewing with High Hat Cafe chef Jeremy Wolgamott, and Mudbug Brewing with NOLA Restaurant’s Brian Mottola.
Date: October 29
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
Location: City Park
Details: One of the city's biggest music festival, Voodoo Fest packs 65+ musical acts into three days on four stages during the weekend before Halloween. It's a massive party in City Park with Tool, Arcade Fire, and the Weekend headlining. There'll also be tons of food and art vendors as well as a craft beer garden and other bars.
Date: October 28-30
[Photo: Voodoo Music + Arts Experience]
Boudin, Bourbon & Beer
Location: Champions Square
Details: This trinity of delicious vice returns to Champions Square to support the Emeril Lagasse Foundation with boudin interpretations from chefs both near and far - like Frank Brigsten, Avo’s Nick Lama, Slade Rushing, and Kelly English from Restaurant Iris in Memphis. Wash down the tasty treats with Abita beer and and Buffalo Trace bourbon.
Date: November 4
[Photo: Cheryl Gerber]
More From Eater New Orleans
Sign up for the newsletter Eater NOLA
Sign up for our newsletter.