by Ian McNulty
Fall festival season is getting into gear, and as usual food is the major draw and premise for many of them. Here are details on three upcoming events to put on your calendar that combine good eats and good times.
Louisiana Seafood Festival
The Louisiana Seafood Festival has been around for a while, but now with a new fall date and a new location along the Mississippi River it seems poised to stand out this year. The event will be held Oct. 12-14 at Woldenberg Park, the grassy linear park running along the French Quarter riverfront where close to 20 restaurants and caterers will serve food. Naturally, Drago’s Seafood Restaurant will be cooking its trademark charbroiled oysters, while the gamut of other choices runs from shrimp and lima bean cassoulet from Borgne, to a fried oyster and brie po-boy from 7 on Fulton to crawfish nachos from Ernst Café.
The festival is hosted by the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, a nonprofit run by hospitality industry insiders that supporters local children’s causes, and a portion of proceeds benefits the foundation’s work.
It will be held rain of shine, from noon to 10 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Local bands perform and there will be seafood cooking demonstrations and a kid’s pavilion from the Louisiana Children’s Museum. Admission is free. More details are here.
Oktoberfest at Rivertown
Oct. 12 marks the start of Oktoberfest from Deutsches Haus, and once again this year the party will be held in Kenner’s Rivertown development. The nonprofit cultural club behind the event, however, has recently reached a milestone in its plans to bring Oktoberfest to Bayou St. John in the future.
The historic Deutsches Haus clubhouse in Mid-City was demolished for hospital construction, prompting the move to Kenner last year. But just last month, the club acquired the title for formerly state-owned land on Moss Street, a scenic but currently vacant spot situated on the bayou and across from City Park. Club president Keith Oldendorf says that signals the start of a capital campaign to build a new Deutsches Haus and Oktoberfest grounds there, and this year’s Kenner edition of Oktoberfest will raise funds for that project.
As usual, this year’s Oktoberfest will feature many tons of sausage, sauerkraut and Bavarian specialties prepared by club volunteers, and German beer at every turn. Visitors will also find beer and wine tastings, a “beer stein holding contest” (or “masskrugstemmen”) and, on Oct. 20, even Dachshund races. More details are here.
Running for the final three weekends in October, the event will be open Fridays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Daily admission is $6.
Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival
Meanwhile, back downtown, the Crescent City Blues & Barbecue Festival returns for its seventh year. Presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit behind Jazz Fest, this free festival is held in Lafayette Square (540 St. Charles Ave.), beginning Friday, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and continuing Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.
While an impressive slate of blues musicians perform on stage, the food booths serve a wide and liberal view of barbecue from more than a dozen restaurants. Boswell’s Jamaican Grill brings jerk from the islands, for instance, while Walker’s Love at First Bite (that darling of Jazz Fest) brings cochon de lait from Cajun country and the Joint brings barbecue from different traditions across the South. More details are here.