We’re nearing the end of the spring festival – and the spring weather—and before summer begins, Bayou Boogaloo (May 17th-19th) squeezes one more festival into the mix. The festival was founded during the evacuation of Hurricane Katrina and evokes the passions of the city—music, food, art and celebration—during a weekend-long free event, rain or shine.
A favorite for many, this festival benefits from its unique location on the Bayou St. John in Mid-City, which presents a picturesque backdrop for the fest. It also provides a cool way for visitors to enjoy the festivities—from boats and rafts right there in the bayou.
Four stages host dozens of the city’s favorite musical acts and other events like family yoga, massages and workshops for kids. You’ll find everything from blues and zydeco to indie and brass bands on this year’s lineup, plus a performance from Fleur de Tease to wrap of the fest Sunday night.
The food booths represent several Mid-City restaurants plus festival caterers and vendors from around the rest of the city. In terms of Mid-City offerings, Katie’s Restaurant serves up Chargrilled Oysters and a Crabcake Poboy, Mid-City Pizza sells red beans and rice and pizza by the slice and Ralphs on the Park will have Smoked Duck Boudin with Green Tomato relish and Fried Smoked Oysters with White Remoulade. There will also be standards like snoballs, Louisiana lemonade and other cool fruit drinks to quench your thirst on what’s likely to be a warm day—if not hot.
Another important aspect is the arts booths spread about the festival, which showcase arts and crafts from some of the best artists in the South. You’ll find everything from drawings, paintings and sculpture art to leather, jewelry and clothing. There will be more than 100 artists there, so you’ll have a great time walking around and admiring their impressive works.
Bayou Boogaloo hosts several other special events every year to liven up the festivities. The Bayou Boogaloo Bicycle Pub Crawl will take place early Saturday morning—a great way to start the day. Also on Saturday is the 5th Annual Zulu Anniversary Run to Ride 5K. On Sunday around midday, Bike Easy hosts a Bicycle Second Line from the CBD to the festival grounds. Also on Sunday, and perhaps the most memorable event, is the 4th Annual Rubber Duck Derby, where you can adopt one or more rubber duckies from Second Harvest (15,000 in total) and then set it/them afloat to see who wins the race for a great prize.
The free festival also promotes sustainability and strives to be a “zero-waste” event by coming up with innovative ways to conserve and recover resources and reduce both the volume and toxicity of waste and materials. Along with its biking events, Bayou Boogaloo also encourages attendees to travel to the festival by non-motorized transportation if at all possible or to at least carpool, especially since parking is limited.
If you’ll be in the area this weekend, don’t miss this free annual festival, a favorite among locals..