COURTESY LOUISIANA HOSPITALITY FOUNDATION
Oysters get cooked on the grill at the Louisiana Seafood Festival, which is being held over the Labor Day weekend at the New Orleans City Park festival grounds.
Labor Day weekend isn’t just for skipping town or throwing backyard barbecues anymore: this year the Louisiana Seafood Festival is celebrating the state's abundance of seafood during the holiday weekend, offering dozens of seafood dishes, live music and family-friendly activities.
The festival is Sept. 4-6 at the New Orleans City Park
festival grounds and features music by Marc Broussard, Starship, Little River Band, Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Mia Borders and others. The free festival is presented by the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation,
There are cooking demonstrations from local chefs, including one from James Beard Award winner Alon Shaya, who will be showing attendees how to make Louisiana shrimp shakshouka,
a variation of the Israeli dish of eggs poached in rich and slightly spicy tomato sauce.
Demonstrations also will be given by chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s, Brian Landry of Borgne, Nathan Richard of Kingfish and others.
Twenty-five participating restaurants and food trucks will serve seafood dishes, the proceeds benefit the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. Dishes include char-broiled oysters from Drago’s, barbecued oyster po-boys from Red Fish Grill, blackened fish tacos from Woody’s Fish Tacos and red fish beignets from the Royal House Oyster Bar.
Last year’s attendance topped 55,000 festival goers, organizers say.
“We’re preparing for another 55,000,” says Jennifer Kelley, Executive Director of the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. “Since we moved the festival to Labor Day weekend it’s of course hard to say, but as a festival that’s been growing in recent years we’re hoping not to stay stagnant, and we’ve told all our vendors to be prepared.”
A beer garden with craft brews on tap will function as a type of VIP space, Kelley says, where a $10 entrance fee will get guests a complimentary commemorative mug and the first drink for free. Craft beers inside the tent are $6.
Beverage vendors are located throughout the festival and will sell beer, wine, cocktails, frozen daiquiris and non-alcoholic drinks.
A kid’s tent featuring seafood-themed activities is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra is providing an “instrument petting zoo,” where kids can learn about different instruments and experience what they feel and sound like.
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and admission is free. For more information, visit the festival's website here.