Ripe for Fun
Five things you can’t miss at Creole Tomato Fest
This weekend brings the 31st annual Creole Tomato Festival to the French Market District. Even if you are one of the strange humans who don’t enjoy tomatoes (my husband), there is still plenty of fun to be had.
Here are my top five:
Dance to Daria & The Hip Drops
New Orleans-based Daria & The Hip Drops bring funky Caribbean flavor to this food festival. Lead singer/songwriter and steel pan player Daria Dzurik is backed by a band of talented musicians who perform originals and the occasional cover. Find them on Saturday, June 10 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. on the Dutch Alley Performance Pavilion Stage.
Become delighted and disgusted at the Tomato Eating Contest
Once upon a time a young woman in her twenties fell in with a rowdy crowd of competitive eaters and her life was forever changed. It’s horrifying. It’s wasteful. It’s entertaining, and the crowd loves it. This festival brings the action twice – Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – when both kids and adults will compete. The contests will be located at the Louisiana Cookin’ Culinary Stage. Sign up by noon if you dare to take part.
Imbibe a Bloody Mary
Arguably the best cocktail made with tomato juice, the Bloody Mary is a morning favorite. That pesky “five o’clock” rule doesn’t apply on the weekend. Seven booths will offer two variations each and some options are non-alcoholic. Vendors are selling 2 ounce tasting portions as well as 12 ounce full servings.
The Bloody Mary makers this year include: BB King’s Blues Club, Café Dauphine, Del Fuego Taqueria, Felipe’s Taqueria, Green Goddess Restaurant, St. Cecilia, and operating as one booth is the combination of Pop City, Café Istanbul and Chef Kevin Belton.
Eat a savory beignet
Ms. Loretta is returning as the 2016 food booth winner in the “Tastiest” category with her crab meat and Creole tomato beignets. Her version of crab beignets at Jazz Fest were raved about and this festival’s version is obviously a winner as well. Look for the food booth called “Loretta’s Authentic Pralines” and you won’t be disappointed.
Other food vendors include: A Bite Outside, Cafe Dauphine, Crêpes à La Cart, Diva Dawg, George’s Produce Co., Gulf Tacos, LaDelyo’s Creole Catering, Marche, Miss Linda Catering, Pierre Maspero’s, Tujagues’s and Voleo’s Seafood Restaurant.
Be a kid again
Creole Tomato Festival is one of the most kid-friendly fests in town. The area is easy to cover without a stroller and the kids’ activities are guided by organizations and volunteers who love what they are doing. This year options include block play with PlayBuild NOLA, making a “Mr./Mrs. Tomato Head” with YAYA, making a festival button and customizing a festival second line handkerchief.
The Creole Tomato Festival is Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11 from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. each day. The festival stretches through the French Market District from St. Ann Street to Esplanade. A convenient map and event details are available online.