Encompassing 25 blocks of Gretna on the river, Gretna Hertitage Fest celebrates 19 years of food, music and culture this year on Friday, Oct. 4th (3 p.m. to 11 p.m.), Saturday Oct. 5th (12 p.m. to 11 p.m.) and Sunday, Oct 6th (12 p.m. to 9 p.m.).
This festival packs every city block with food and arts and crafts vendors plus seven stages delivering great live music from start to finish. The event is perfect for the whole family with amusement park rides and special entertainment for the kids. And, being right on the Mississippi River, attendees can enjoy the cool breeze on a hopefully warm, but not hot, October weekend.
Certain designated areas specifically celebrate a particular culture. For example, the German Beer Garden offers authentic German food and beer, including bratwurst, sauerkraut, hot pretzels, German apple cake and German beer, wines and Schnapps. There will even be a ceremonial keg provided by local brewer Heiner Brau that will be tapped at 5 p.m. in honor of the official opening of the Oktoberfest season.
The Italian Village features classic Italian food and drinks plus performances by Louis Prima, Jr., Carlo Ditta and The Yat Pac. The St. Joseph’s Altar of Italian fare includes Italian sausage sandwiches, Italian sausage on a stick, muffalettas, meatballs, eggplant, Italian cookies, Italian wine, Moretti beer and even some Italian souvenirs.
As for live entertainment, the music offerings run the gamut. On Friday, catch sets from Earth Wind & Fire, The Molly Ringwalds, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr & the Zydeco Twisters, Naughty Professor and New Birth Brass Band. On Saturday you can enjoy music from Chicago, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Marcia Ball, Tommy Malone of the Subdudes, Sunpie Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots and Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. And on Sunday, musical acts include ZZ Top, Ben Miller Band, Tab Benoit, Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, The Topcats and Glen David Andrews. Find a complete music schedule on Gretna Fest’s website.
The music lineups are impressive, and the food and fun are on par with many other festivals you’d find in the city proper, but it’s just across the river. You can drive or take the ferry over and enjoy the festival with the beautiful backdrop of the Crescent City in the background.
Tickets are $15 for one day and $40 for a weekend pass in advance, and they are $20 for one day and $50 for a weekend pass the day of the event. Kids aged 12 and under are free.