18 New Orleans-area festivals to check out this May

We’re nearing the end of a busy New Orleans spring festival season, but there are still quite a few fests to enjoy this May. Here’s your guide to May festivals and major events to mark on your calendar. We’ve mapped out some great festivals on both the North Shore and the South Shore. Check back for updates as we get them.

May 2018

Photo courtesy: Bayou Boogaloo

NOLA Crawfish Festival

April 30 – May 2

Central City BBQ
Google Map
Hang out at the three-day NOLA Crawfish Festival at Central City BBQ. Several local musicians jam while festival-goers gobble pounds of crawfish. The festival hosts an “Ultimate Crawfish Cook-Off” on its last day where 20 teams compete for the best crawfish boil. Plus, the festival hosts its first-ever crawfish eating contest. Ticket prices start at $25, plus taxes and fees.

GiveNOLA Fest

May 1

Greater New Orleans Foundation
Google Map
Celebrate GiveNOLA Day at the second annual GiveNOLA Fest featuring the Soul Rebels and Irma Thomas. The fest kicks off from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy.  Entrance to the fest will be from St. Charles Avenue near The Circle. No folding chairs or outside food and beverages at the fest. A portion of proceeds from food and drink will benefit the Lagniappe Fund. Entry to GiveNOLA Fest is free.

Shorty Fest 2018

May 3

House of Blues
Google Map
The largest benefit concert of the year for the Trombone Shorty Foundation, Shorty Fest 2018, will fill two stages at the legendary House of Blues New Orleans with a stellar lineup of leading jazz, blues, funk, rock, and soul artists. Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue will be joined by Tank and the Bangas, Soul Rebels, Water Seed and a special performance by the Trombone Shorty Academy students. Ticket pricing ranges from $80 general admission to $250 VIP tickets.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

May 3 – 6

New Orleans Fairgrounds
Google Map
Thousands of music lovers head to the Fairgrounds for this two-weekend festival, considered one of the city’s most world-renowned events. Tons of music spans several stages bringing big local and international names across different genres. Some of this year’s headliners include Aerosmith, Sting, Jimmy Buffet, Beck, Jack White and Lionel Richie. Let’s also not forget to mention all the incredible food vendors that will fill the Fairgrounds like the sought after Crawfish MonicaMango Freeze and cochon de lait po-boys. Festival-goers can also enjoy art exhibits and some good people watching. Here are some festival tips straight from fest-goers to get you through. Ticket prices vary.

Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair

May 3 – 6

Thibodaux Fire Department Fairgrounds
Google Map
The Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair heats things up this spring with the largest, and hottest, fundraising fair in southeast Louisiana. The free, family-friendly event brings tons of music, food and activities to the Thibodaux Fire Department Fairgrounds on Thursday, May 3 to Sunday, May 6. The four-day lineup combines a festival, a fair and a parade all into one huge event. Here’s a list of exciting things you can expect at the fair this year.

Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival

May 4 – 6

Parc Hardy
Breaux Bridge, La.
Google Map
Thousands flock to the “Crawfish Capital of the World” for the weekend-long Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival. Enjoy crawfish prepared in every imaginable way, and experience Cajun and Zydeco culture at this gathering. Some of the features include a celebrity crawfish eating contest, Cajun dance lessons, crawfish races, cooking demonstrations, performances and a crawfish etouffee cook-off. It’s Cajun fun for the whole family! Admission starts at $5.

Kenner Cinco de Mayo Fest

May 4

Kenner, La.
Google Map
The inaugural Kenner Cinco de Mayo Fest, a free daylong festival with bands, live dance performances, crafts and activities for the entire family, kicks off in Rivertown from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, May 4.

Jazz in the Park Crab Festival

May 11

Armstrong Park
Google Map
Jazz in the Park brings back its crab festival after last year’s inaugural success. The fest features local restaurants serving up their best crabmeat dishes. Musicians Michael Franks and Loose Ends headline the concert. Ticket prices start at $30.

Crawfish Mambo 2018

May 12

University of New Orleans
Google Map
Head out to the University of New Orleans for the city’s largest crawfish cookoff.  The event features music, a crawfish cookoff, a peel n’ eat contest and all the crawfish you can eat for $25 in advance or $35 at the gate. Children under age 7 can join for free.

Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo

May 18 – 20

Bayou St. John
Google Map
Paddle along Bayou St. John at this family-friendly food and music fest. This three-day fest makes the perfect family outing to top off your weekend. Catch some cool local music acts, paddle boat races and other activities.

Plaquemines Parish Seafood Festival

May 18 – 20

Belle Chasse, La.
Google Map
Head to Plaquemines Parish for a celebration of the parishes’ unique heritage, and feast on great local seafood while you’re at it. The fest also features live music, carnival rides, crafts and the Seafood Queen Pageant.

Louisiana Veterans’ Festival

May 19

Northshore Harbor Center
Google Map
This festival provides an opportunity for family and friends to celebrate Louisiana veterans for their service. The Louisiana Veterans Festival brings a day of entertainment, unique arts and crafts, food, children’s activities and a car show. Enjoy the fest from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., rain or shine. General admission is $15. Veterans and kids 12 and under enter free.

New Orleans Food & Wine Experience

May 23 – 27

Various locations around New Orleans
Hundreds of wineries, restaurants and top chefs from around the city showcase their best for this diverse culinary experience. Test your palate with wine and food tastings at this event-packed feast. Some of the big highlights include the Grand Tasting and the Royal Street Stroll.

New Orleans Greek Festival

May 25 – May 27

Holy Trinity Cathedral
Google Map
Don’t forget your toga during Memorial Day weekend. Head out to the family-friendly New Orleans Greek Festival. Food, wine, live music and dance highlights this fun toast to Greek traditions. The line-up also usually includes a Toga Contest. Entrance fee $8. Children 12 and under enter free.

Gonzales Jambalaya Festival

May 25 – 27

Gonzales, La.
Google Map
Head to Gonzales for a celebration of the iconic Louisiana dish. Aside from some good jambalaya, other events include a cooking contest, a pageant, carnival rides and live entertainment.

Bayou Country Superfest

May 25 – May 27

Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Google Map
The annual fest returns to New Orleans during the Memorial Day Weekend bringing the biggest names in country music. George Strait will headline the concert series with Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves and Midland also slated to perform. A new feature this year launches a huge fireworks display over the Mississippi River on Friday night. Tickets start at $50.

Slidell Jazz and Blues Festival

May 26

Heritage Park
Google Map
Groove to performances by local jazz and blues acts while benefiting a good cause. A portion of proceeds from the Slidell Jazz and Blues Festival support local young musicians and music education.

Diner en Blanc New Orleans

May 27

Location kept secret until event
Put on your best white outfit, and get ready for the most elegant picnic in town. Diners must register well in advance of this event to participate. Registered diners will find out the secret dining location at the last minute and be whisked away to dine with hundreds of others in a chic setting. Music, food and fun are all part of the magical evening. Here are tips for packing for the pop-up picnic. Registration is $40, plus a $9 membership fee.

 *All dates and information are subject to change.

Contact us if there are changes in schedule.

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