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Summer free way to fun

Fairs and festivals pack bang for the buck

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Roller derby teams wielding plastic bats are the "bulls" during San Fermin in Nueva Orleans in July. - PHOTO BY JARED HOWERTON
  • Photo by Jared Howerton
  • Roller derby teams wielding plastic bats are the "bulls" during San Fermin in Nueva Orleans in July.

Stretch your entertainment dollars with mini vacations to free area fairs, festivals and community events, many offering a range of attractions in one place. Here are some options to see you through the summer.

June 28 — The Great Race antique car show — Contestants in The Great Race (www.greatrace.com), a classic car rally, make a rest stop in Covington and put their 100 or so antique cars on display to the public on North New Hampshire Street from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

July 3 — Uncle Sam Jam — The pre-Independence Day celebration at Lafreniere Park (300 Downs Blvd., Metairie, 504-838-4389; www.lafrenierepark.org) features live music starting at 3 p.m. and a fireworks display at 9 p.m. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

  3rd of July — The inaugural Independence Day celebration at City Park (Goldring/Woldenberg Great Lawn, Dreyfous Drive; www.neworleanscity park.com) features musical performances by the Marine Corps Band New Orleans and the Navy Band New Orleans, beginning at 7 p.m., and a fireworks show at 9 p.m. Food, beer and wine will be sold, or attendees can bring their own. Blankets and chairs are allowed.

July 4 — Go 4th on the River — The 23rd annual fireworks extravaganza begins at 9 p.m. on the Mississippi River (between the Gov. Nicholls Street Wharf and Canal Street dock) and features two fireworks barges dueling it out with pyrotechnics. There is live music at Spanish Plaza before the fireworks show. For more information, visit www.go4thontheriver.com.

July 13 — San Fermin in Nueva Orleans, aka Running of the Bulls — It's New Orleans' own take on the traditional encierro in Pamplona, Spain, but here the "bulls" the runners fear are women's roller derby teams armed with plastic bats — and they use them. The run starts at 8 a.m. at the Sugar Mill (1021 Convention Center Blvd.) and is part of a festival July 11-14 that includes traditional San Fermin parties and events, some requiring tickets. Visit www.nolabulls.com for information.

July 18 — Sunset at the Landing — The monthly outdoor concert series at The Landing (Foot of Columbia Street, Covington; www.covingtonfarmersmarket.org/landing.shtml) offers a couple of bands and covers a variety of music styles. Hours 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Aug. 1-4 — Satchmo SummerFest — The 13th annual festival at the Old U.S. Mint (400 Esplanade Ave.; www.fqfi.org/satchmosummerfest) celebrates Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong and his contributions to music. It features brass bands and other local musicians playing traditional and contemporary jazz, seminars, children's activities and more. Vendors will sell food and drinks.

Aug. 3 — White Linen Night — It's a huge street party in the 300 through 600 blocks of Julia Street and the surrounding Warehouse District celebrating the arts season and featuring revelers decked out in white linen outfits. Many art galleries in the area will open new shows at the event, and Julia Street will feature live music and food and drink booths. (There's an after-party at the Contemporary Arts Center; tickets are required.) The block party runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Aug. 10 — Red Dress Run — The 2-mile run through the French Quarter begins and ends at Armstrong Park (Rampart Street; www.neworleanshash.com), where spectators can watch runners of both genders decked out in often-flamboyant red dresses. The race starts at 9 a.m. and is followed by a party at the park with live music, beer, barbecue and more until 4 p.m. The charity fundraiser is sponsored by the New Orleans Hash House Harriers.

  Dirty Linen Night — A French Quarter takeoff on the Warehouse District's White Linen Night, this party in the 500 through 1000 blocks of Royal Street features live music, local art, special sales at retail shops and food and drink vendors. Hours 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Aug. 15 — Sunset at the Landing — A couple of bands perform a free concert at The Landing (Foot of Columbia Street, Covington, 985-892-1873; www.covingtonfarmersmarket.org/landing.shtml) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.




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