Carnival is the largest street party in the world, drawing millions of people every year from all across the globe. Family Gras in Metairie adds another dimension to the celebration with a two-day, family-oriented festival of music, food, kids' activities, art and more — all on a route where parades will roll. (Note: No parades are scheduled in Orleans Parish on this weekend due to Super Bowl.) Everyone's invited.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
• Family Gras is Friday, Feb. 1, and Saturday, Feb. 2.
• Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, with the first music act taking the stage at noon; and 1 p.m.-till on Saturday, with music starting at 2 p.m.
• The festival is located on the neutral ground of Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie, in front of Lakeside Shopping Center.
• Admission is free.
• The VIP Royal Pass provides close-up views of bands playing in Festival Plaza, with passes to special decks on each side of the main stage and opportunities to meet the musicians during meet-and-greet sessions. In addition, VIP Royal Passholders have access to reserved bathrooms, get two meal tickets and two beverage tickets good for cuisine catered by Messina's. There also is a premium cash bar.
Royal Passes are $99 for both days and are available at Ticketmaster.com through Thursday, Jan. 31. Passes are also available on site the days of the festival (cash only).
• Costuming is encouraged, and themes are Fun Friday, when you dress in your favorite Carnival costume; and Sports Saturday, when you wear your favorite team colors.
• The Festival Stage features a host of local and national groups ranging from Amanda Shaw to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and covering a variety of music genres.
• The Food Court offers cuisine from local restaurants, caterers and food vendors. (See a list of food vendors and the dishes they offer on p. 7.)
• Kids' activities include a rock climbing wall, the Bubble Blast and more.
• The Art Market exhibits specialty art and crafts for sale.
• Family Gras is on the parade route. The Krewe of Atlas hits the street at 7 p.m. Friday, followed by the Krewe of Excaliber parade at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Krewe of Caesar begins at 6 p.m. and parades on the same route. It takes about an hour for the parade to arrive at Family Gras.
• More than 80,000 people attended Family Gras 2012.
• Budweiser, Coca-Cola products and bottled water will be sold on site.
• No outside food or beverages allowed.
• No pets.
• No skateboards or bikes on festival grounds. (Bike racks will be provided.)