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New Orleans Festivals Guide: May 2014 

May

1-4New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (Fair Grounds Race Course, 1751 Gentilly Blvd., www.nojazzfest.com) — The 45th annual festival, held the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May, features scores of local and international musicians and other acts that perform on stages and in tents on the horseracing course and in the grandstand. Headliners include Santana, The Avett Brothers, Robert Plant, John Hiatt and more. Hours 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Admission $70 per day, $5 ages 2-10, $55 advance (before April 24), VIP packages available.

1-4Thibodaux Firemen's Fair and Parade (1101 Tiger Drive, Thibodaux, 985-446-3247; www.thibfiredept.org) — The event offers live music, food, carnival rides, games, children's activities, an auction and $10,000 raffle. A parade starts at 11 a.m. Sunday. Hours 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Thu., 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. Admission free.

2Zoo-To-Do (Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 504-861-6160; www.auduboninstitute.org) — The black-tie event features food and drinks from New Orleans restaurants, mixologists, live music and a silent auction. Hours 7 p.m.-midnight. Admission $110-$175, $85-$130 early bird, VIP tickets available.

2-4Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival (Parc Hardy, 2090 Rees St., Breaux Bridge, 337-332-6655; www.bbcrawfest.com) — Cajun, zydeco and swamp pop music fill three stages during the three-day festival. There are accordion making and cooking demonstrations, dance contests, crawfish prepared all ways, a crawfish race, crawfish-eating contest, crawfish etouffee cook-off, carnival rides and more. Hours 4 p.m.-midnight Fri., 10 a.m.-midnight Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. Admission $5 Fri. and Sun., $10 Sat., $15 three-day pass.

3Celebration of Herbs & Gardens (Marie Street, Sunset, 337-662-3542; www.sunsetherbfestival.com) — The 18th annual garden festival features native plants and flowers for sale, as well as fresh herbs, herbal products, yard art and food. There also are kids' activities. Hours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission free.

3-4Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival (Melrose Plantation, 3533 Highway 119, Melrose, 318-379-0055; www.aphnatchitoches.net) — More than 100 artists and craftspeople display and sell their works in the gardens of the 1800s plantation. Hours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun. Admission free.

3-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-24Natchez Festival of Music (Various locations, Natchez, Miss., 601-446-6631; www.natchezfestivalofmusic.com) — The festival's signature event is a May 10 50th anniversary tribute to the Beatles coming to America. Other productions and concerts, some free, are scheduled on weekends throughout May and genres include opera, musicals, jazz, swing, big band and more. There's also a musical wine tasting. Hours vary. Admission varies.

7, 14, 21, 28Wednesday at the Square —(Lafayette Square, 500 block of St. Charles Avenue, 504-585-1500;www.wednesdayatthesquare.com) — The Wednesday evening concert series features New Orleans musicians, food and arts and crafts. Proceeds benefit the Young Leadership Council. Hours 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Admission free.

8-11Cochon de Lait Festival (Downtown Mansura, 318-964-2887; www.cochondelaitfestival.com) — Mansura calls itself "The Cochon de Lait Capital," and the 40th annual festival features live music, Cajun food, carnival rides, arts and crafts, hog-calling contests, beer drinking contests and a street dance. Hours 5 p.m.-till Thu.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-till Sat., 9 a.m.-till Sun. Admission $7 adults, $2 children.

10Crawfish Mambo (University of New Orleans Lakefront Campus, The Cove, 504-280-2586; www.crawfishmambo.com) — UNO International Alumni Association hosts the crawfish cook-off, with all-you-can-eat crawfish for attendees and live music. Hours 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission $25, $20 in advance.

10Dragon Boat Festival (Tchefuncte River, 403 St. Francis St., Madisonville, 416-962-8899; www.gwndragonboat.com) — Teams race dragon boats in various categories. The festival also features food, arts and crafts, demonstrations and an awards ceremony. Hours 8 a.m.-till. Admission free.

10Pie One On at Madewood (Madewood Plantation House, 4250 Highway 308, Napoleonville, 985-369-7151; www.madewood.com) — The Best of the Bayou pie competition includes seafood, meat and fruit categories. Hours 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission free.

10-11Natchez Arts Festival (Downtown Natchez, Miss., 504-508-6800; www.natchezartsfestival) — The fine arts festival includes exhibits and sale of artworks, live music, dance, performing arts presentations, food, educational programs and workshops. Hours 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission free.

11Mother's Day at Audubon Zoo (6500 Magazine St., 504-581-4629; www.auduboninstitute.org) — Grammy Award winner Irma Thomas headlines the event, which features a range of musical acts, food vendors, arts and crafts and children's activities. Hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission free with zoo admission ($17.50 adults, $13 seniors 65 and older, $12 ages 2-12, free for members).

16Concerts In the Courtyard (The Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal St., 504-523-4662; www.hnoc.org) — The seventh annual event offers a monthly concert featuring Louisiana musicians playing in the courtyard and three complimentary beverages (beer and wine). Hours 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Admission $10, free for members.

16-18Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Festival (Bayou St. John, 504-488-3865; www.thebayouboogaloo.com) — It's the ninth year for this family-friendly music festival along the banks of Bayou St. John. There are three stages for music (including a kids' stage), food and drink vendors, an arts market and children's activities. Hours 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sun. Admission free.

21-24New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (Various locations in New Orleans; www.nowfe.com) — The 22nd annual four-day event includes a variety of events featuring more than 1,000 wines, food from two dozen restaurant events, tastings and signature events such as Royal Street Stroll and Big Gateaux Show. A portion of proceeds benefit culinary-related charities. Hours vary. Admission varies.

22-25Jambalaya Festival (Irma Boulevard, Gonzales, 225-647-2937; www.jambalayafestival.org) — More than 20 bands play the 47th annual festival, which features jambalaya cooking contests, a car show, carnival rides and a 5K-1 mile run. Hours n/a. Admission free.

23-25Greek Festival (Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd., 504-282-0259; www.greekfestnola.com) — The 41st annual celebration of Hellenic culture includes Greek cuisine, live music, dancing and more. Hours 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. Admission $5; free children 12 and younger.

23-25Krotz Springs Sportsmen's Heritage Festival (Nall Park, 562 Front St., Krotz Springs, 337-566-3527; www.kssportsmensheritagefestival.com) — The festival, held near the Atchafalaya River, celebrates the wildlife and heritage of the area with a fishing tournament, wild game cook-off, live music, food, arts and crafts and more. Hours 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Fri., 2 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. Admission free.

24Fleur de Lis Arts & Crafts Show (Natchitoches Events Center, 750 Second St., Natchitoches, 800-259-1714; www.facebook.com/fleurdelisartsandcrafts) — The indoor arts and crafts festival offers woodworking, handcrafted pottery, jewelry, clothing, jams and jellies and more from more than 100 vendors. Hours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission free.

25Zydeco Extravaganza (Evangeline Downs Event Center, 2235 Creswell Lane, Opelousas, 337-594-3137; www.zydecoextra.com) — Indoor and outdoor stages host a variety of zydeco musicians at this 28th annual festival, which also features an amateur accordion contest, food and more. Hours noon-midnight. Admission $20, $15 advance.

25-31Birdfoot Festival (Various locations in New Orleans, 504-451-6578; www.birdfootfestival.org) — The third annual live chamber music festival includes rehearsals open to the public, chamber music concerts featuring local, national and international musicians and a mentoring program for high school students. Some events are free. Hours vary. Admission varies.

31Taste At the Lake (West Lakeshore Center, 135 Robert E. Lee Blvd.; www.tasteatthelake.com) — The fourth annual celebration of food, wine, music and community features food from local restaurants and caterers, live music and more. Hours 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Admission $35 general in advance, $100 patron in advance.

31-June 1New Orleans Oyster Festival (Woldenberg Riverfront Park, 1 Canal St., 504-888-7608; www.neworleansoysterfestival.org) — Oysters prepared every way and oyster-eating and oyster-shucking contests are highlights of the two-day festival, which offers food from almost two dozen restaurants, daiquiris, beer, cooking demonstrations, a kids' tent and more. Hours n/a. Admission free.



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