Stroll through breezy Woldenberg Park, located along the Mississippi Riverfront, as you sample the Gulf oyster in all its glory, served fresh on the half shell or featured as a main ingredient in classic, well-loved dishes found only in New Orleans.
Founded in 2010, the New Orleans Oyster Festival is a free two-day celebration of the oyster – and the farmers, shuckers and restaurateurs whose collective efforts make the Vieux Carré the famed Oyster Capital of America. Local establishments such as Drago’s and Arnaud’s serve oysters freshly picked from the warm waters of the Gulf and prepared in any way you can imagine – charbroiled, fried on a po-boy, baked and served over pasta, layered in a muffaletta, rolled into egg rolls, and, of course, raw. No matter how you prefer your oysters, the aged red pepper kick of TABASCO® Original Red perfectly complements their salty sweetness.
Plenty of local beer is available to wash down those Gulf delicacies, and sweet treats like New Orleans “snoballs” are on hand to cool you down in the warm, humid climes of early summer. For those who enjoy traditional South Louisiana fare, the city’s best restaurants also serve local dishes such as shrimp & grits, pork boudin, shrimp & alligator sausage cheesecake, crawfish pie and delectable New Orleans-style desserts such as white chocolate king cake bread pudding.
Like all South Louisiana festivals, the Oyster Fest offers plenty of entertainment and fun activities to please all ages. Prominent music artists such as Rockin’ Dopsie Jr., Kermit Ruffins and Irma Thomas, as well as the Treme Brass Band, Bonerama and Zion Harmonizers, have graced the stage in past years. The festival also features oyster-themed competitions such as the Acme® Oyster House Oyster Eating Contest and an oyster-shucking contest, in which the city’s fastest shuckers open and lay out as many oysters as they can in two minutes.
On the opposite side of the festival grounds from the events stage and food & drinks booths is a family-friendly area, with a children’s tent, craft sales, an oyster heritage tent and cooking demonstrations. Browse oyster-themed jewelry and art, learn about the culture of the oyster community and watch chefs whip up delicious dishes while the kids play in a generous green space.
The New Orleans Oyster Festival isn’t just an opportunity to indulge the senses and enjoy a fun afternoon along the Mississippi River – it’s a chance to support the local oyster community. A portion of the proceeds from the event is donated to groups whose programs help ensure the sustainability of the Louisiana oyster industry and the coastal environment that supports it.
For more information, visit www.neworleansoysterfestival.org.