In Louisiana, there’s always a reason to party. In May, there are plenty of fairs, festivals and more on the calendar. Here’s a rundown of events. Start making your plans now!
1 — NOLA Crawfish Fest (The Smokeyard at Central City BBQ, 1201 S. Rampart St.; www.nolacrawfishfest.com) — The event features live music, beer, hot boiled crawfish, a crawfish eating championship Tuesday and a crawfish cook-off Wednesday. Musical guests include Anders Osborne, The Iceman Special, The Mike Dillon Band and others. 3 p.m.-10 p.m. daily. $120 for three-day ticket; VIP tickets available.
Wednesdays 1-22 — YLC Wednesday at the Square (Lafayette Square, South Maestri Place; www.ylcnola.org) — The weekly 10-concert spring series features local bands, food, drinks and more every Wednesday. 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Free.
Thursdays 2-30 — Thursdays at Twilight Concert Series (New Orleans Botanical Garden, New Orleans City Park, 5 Victory Ave.; www.neworleanscitypark.com) — The weekly spring concert series features traditional jazz, rhythm and blues and other music genres performed by New Orleans musicians in an intimate setting. There’s also mint juleps, wine, beer and food for purchase. 6 p.m. $10.
2-5 — Louisiana Pirate Festival (Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 N. Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles; www.louisianapiratefestival.com) — There are watercraft exhibitions, a fireworks display, live music and other performances, cannon demonstrations, costume contests, arts and crafts, a boat parade, games and carnival rides. Hours and admission TBA.
2-5 — New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, 1751 Gentilly Blvd.; www.nojazzfest.com) — See April 25 for event description.
2-5 — Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair (Thibodaux Fire Department Fairgrounds, 1101 Tiger Drive, Thibodaux; www.firemensfair.com) — There’s live music, a 5k run, auction, raffle, parade, carnival rides, games and more. 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Free.
3 — Mandeville Live! (Mandeville Trailhead, 675 Lafitte St., Mandeville) — See March 22 listing for event details.
3-4 — Le Grand Hoorah Festival (Chicot State Park, 3469 Chicot Park Road, Ville Platte; www.lafolkroots.org/thegrand-hoorah) — The celebration of Cajun and Creole cultures features music, food, dancing, arts and crafts and more. 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. $10.
3-4 — Mayfest (Downtown Leesville; www.vernonparish.org/mayfest) — The two-day festival offers live music, artist demonstrations, children’s activities, food made from scratch and vendors from across Louisiana. Hours TBA. Free.
3-5 — Alex River Fete (Downtown Alexandria) — There’s a Dinner on the Bricks event with food from a range of restaurants Thursday, dragon boat races on Saturday and a gospel Brunch on Sunday. There also are art walks, food and art vendors and music from guests including Mojo Killjoy, Rev. Charley’s Patent Medicine Show, ZZ Ward, Fall of Isaac and others. 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Free.
3-5 — Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival (1290 Rees St., Breaux Bridge; www.bbcrawfest.com) — More than 30 bands perform Cajun, zydeco and swamp pop during the festival, which also includes Cajun dance contests, music workshops, crawfish dishes and more. 4 p.m.-midnight Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. $15 weekend pass, $5 Friday and Sunday, $10 Saturday, free for children 11 and younger.
3-5 — Little Red Church Food and Fun Festival (St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 13396 River Road, Destrehan; www.scblittleredchurch.org) — Amanda Shaw, Category 6 and Mojeaux are among bands playing at the three-day festival. There also are carnival rides, food booths, a pageant, raffles and games. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Free.
3-5 — Tomato Festival (Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church and School, 2320 Paris Road, Chalmette) — The festival offers raw and grilled oysters, tomato dishes, shrimp dishes, jambalaya, crawfish fried rice, Italian sausage and more. Local musicians perform live and there are carnival rides and games, a queen pageant, baby contest and a 5k fun run. 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, noon 10 p.m. Sunday. Free.
4 — Sunset Herb and Garden Festival (Sunset Festival Grounds, 240 Marie St., Sunset; www.sunsetherbfestival.com) — The festival includes guest speakers addressing gardening, flowers and herbs, a marketplace with fresh herbs, herbal products, yard art, plants and flowers. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. $5, free for children 6 and younger.
4 — Treasure Fest (West Park, 613 Park Road, DeRidder; www.cityofderidder.org/390/Treasure-Fest) — Treasure Fest is a huge yard sale featuring furniture, antiques, home accessories, art and more, held along a one-mile walking trail. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Free.
4 — Westwego Crawfish Cook-off (Westwego Farmers Market, 484 Sala Ave., Westwego; www.visitwestwego.com) — Cooking teams compete to see who boils the best mudbugs. There also is live music by the Brad Sapia Band, all-you-can-eat crawfish, food and drink vendors, crafts and more. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. $15, $5 for children 10 and younger.
5-10 — Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week (Chicot State Park, 3469 Chicot Park Road, Ville Platte; www.lafolkroots.org/balfa-week) — Dedicated to fiddler Dewey Balfa, the week includes fiddle, guitar and accordion classes, Cajun and Creole vocals instruction, band labs, nightly dances with live performers, words-and-music sessions and jam sessions. 8 a.m.-midnight. $720 full access, other admissions are $10 and up.
8-11 — Rayne Frog Festival (Gossen Memorial Park, 318 Gossen Memorial Drive, Rayne; www.raynefrogfestival.com) — There’s frog racing and jumping, bullfrogs in costume, a frog legs eating contest, live music, food vendors, an arts and crafts marketplace, a queen pageant, frog cook-off, dance contest, parade and a children’s area. Hours TBA. Free on Wednesday, $10 Thursday-Saturday, free for children 12 and under.
9-12 — Cochon de Lait Festival (Mansura; www.cochondelaitfestival.com) —Mansura calls itself the cochon de lait capital of the world, and the four-day event pays homage to porcine dishes. There’s Cajun food, Louisiana music, a greasy pig contest, a crackling cook-off, beer drinking contest, hog calling competition and more. 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-TBA Sunday. Admission TBA.
10-11 — Zwolle Loggers & Forestry Festival (Zwolle Festival Grounds, 1100 S. Main St., Zwolle; www.zwolleloggers.com) — The festival focuses on the logging and forestry industries with a blessing of the logging trucks fleet, a parade, logging demonstrations, activities and contests, live music, food, arts and crafts, a turtle cook-off and forestry exhibits. Hours TBA. $5 Friday, $8 Saturday.
11 — Crawfish Mambo (University of New Orleans, 2000 Lakeshore Drive; www.crawfishmambo.com) — Dozens of crawfish boiling teams compete for prizes and attendees get to sample the results with all-you-can-eat mudbugs. There’s also live music, an artists’ village and a children’s tent. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $25, $15 students, VIP tickets available.
11 — Fraternal order of Police Mud Bug Boil-Off (Downtown Thibodaux; www.downtownthibodaux.org/mudbugboiloff) — The festival includes lots of boiled crawfish, other dishes, live music and more. Hours TBA. $15.
11 — Old Metairie Crawfish Festival & Cook-Off (St. Catherine of Siena Church and School, 105 Bonnabel Blvd., Metairie; www.scschurch.com/crawfish-cookoff) — There are crawfish cook-offs, all-you-can-eat crawfish, other foods and live music. Noon-8 p.m. $20.
11 — Port Orleans Brewing Co. Anniversary Party (4124 Tchoupitoulas St.; www.portorleans.com) — The second anniversary party includes live music, food, a crawfish boil and multiple beer releases. Noon-7 p.m. Free.
11 — Storm Sweep (New Canal Lighthouse, 8001 Lakeshore Drive; www.saveourlake.org) — Volunteers, Save Our Lake partners and sponsors commemorate the importance of the Pontchartrain Basin with an event to clean curbs, ditches and storm drains in preparation for hurricane season. Donuts and coffee are served at the lighthouse from 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. and trash bags and bottled water are provided. 8:30 a.m.-noon. Free.
12 — Mother’s Day Celebration at Audubon Zoo (6500 Magazine St.; www.audubonnatureinstitute.org/mothers-day-celebration) — The annual concert celebrates mothers with live music from Irma Thomas and the Professionals, food and arts vendors and more. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free with regular zoo admission (mothers get in free).
16-18 — Starks Mayhaw Festival (105 Highway 190 N., Starks; www.mayhawfest.com) — The alcohol-free festival includes country-western, swamp pop and bluegrass music, a bike parade, queen pageant, talent show, antique car show, gospel singing and an auction. 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Free.
16-19 — Hangout Music Festival (Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores, Alabama; www.hangoutmusicfest.com) — Musical guests for the three-day beach festival include Travis Scott, The Lumineers, Vampire Weekend, Cardi B, Kygo, Khalid and dozens of others. There’s also roller disco, beach volleyball, yoga and more. A kickoff party Thursday features performances by Big Gigantic, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and others. 11 a.m.-until Friday-Sunday. $299 for three-day pass, VIP tickets available.
17-18 — Louisiana Smoked Meat Festival (Northside Civic Center, 704 N. Soileau St., Ville Platte; www.lasmokedmeatfestival.com) — The celebration in the “smoked meat capital of the world” was designed to honor military veterans and the culture and cuisine of the area. There’s food, live music, a world championship smoked meat cook-off (Saturday) and more. 4 p.m.-until Friday, 8 a.m.-until Saturday. $10, free for children 12 and younger.
17-18 — Pirate Day in the Bay (Beach Boulevard and Main Street, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi; www.mkotsh.com) — The event has live music, a pub crawl, costume contest, pirate cruise, a parade, vendors and more. 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday. Free.
17-19 — Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo (Bayou St. John at Orleans Avenue; www.thebayouboogaloo.com) — There are four stages of live music, a marketplace with more than 60 local artists and businesses, food and beverage vendors, a kids’ area, canoe and kayak racing on Saturday and other activities. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-9:15 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday. Free.
17-19 — Plaquemines Parish Seafood & Heritage Festival (F. Edward Hebert Boulevard off Woodland Highway, Belle Chasse; www.plaqueminesparishfestival.com) — The three-day festival features lots of seafood dishes, live bands, an oyster drop, helicopter rides, carnival rides, a queen pageant, sandbagging contest and arts and crafts. 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. $5, free for children under 12.
23-26 — New Orleans Greek Festival (Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, 1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd.; www.greekfestnola.com) — The celebration of Greek food and culture includes Greek food, a Greek grocery, wine, pastries, Helenic dancing, live Greek music, cooking demonstrations, a 5k run and children’s activities. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Thursday (indoor only, cash only), 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. $5 (cash only) Thursday, $8 Friday-Sunday, free for children 12 and younger.
23-June 2 — Cajun Heartland State Fair (444 Cajundome Blvd., Lafayette; www.cajundome.com) — The 11-day fair attracts about 175,000 visitors, who come for the amusement rides, carnival games, a battle of the bands contest, live music, food and activities. Hours TBA. $5, free for children 12 and younger.
24-25 — Krotz Springs Sportsmen’s Heritage Festival (Nall Park, 562 Front St., Krotz Springs; www.kssportsmensheritagefestival.com) — The festival is focused on promoting the preservation of the woodlands, wetlands and Atchafalaya River. There’s a “Fur, Feathers, or Fins” wild game cook-off; carnival rides and games; Cajun, swamp pop and zydeco music; and food and art vendors. 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday. Free.
25-26 — Baton Rouge Soul Food Festival (North Boulevard Town Square, 200 North Blvd., Baton Rouge; www.hitcitydigital.wixsite.com/brsoulfoodfest) — Blues, soul, funk, gospel, rhythm and blues, reggae and rock bands perform and there are soul food cooking competitions highlighting dishes from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. There’s also a marketplace. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Free. VIP tickets $25-$100.
24-26 — Grand Isle Speckled Trout Rodeo (Bridge Side Marina 1618 Highway 1, Grand Isle; www.speckledtroutrodeo.com) — The Memorial Day weekend fishing tournament includes competition for the Louisiana State Speckled Trout Master Angler title as well as awards for redfish, flounder, sheepshead, ling, mangrove snapper, drum and white trout. There also are youth divisions. There’s also a dance Saturday. Times vary. $20.
28-June 1 — Birdfoot Festival (Various locations in New Orleans; www.birdfootfestival.org) — Chamber music is spotlighted at this festival, with pieces performed by international artists. There are open rehearsals, free concerts, family-friendly events, a celebrity-chef dinner concert and more. Hours and admissions vary.
30-June 2 — Overlook Film Festival (Various locations in the French Quarter; www.overlookfilmfest.com) — The festival showcases new and classic independent horror cinema and has live shows, alternate reality games and interactive activities. Hours vary. Weekend passes $250-$650. Limited individual event passes will be available.
31-June 2 — Symphony Book Fair (University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena, 6801 Franklin Ave.; www.lpovolunteers.org) — The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra’s volunteers present the annual book sale, which includes collectible books, art, sheet music, CDs, DVDs, puzzles and games. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. $15 Friday admittance before 3 p.m., free Friday after 3 p.m.-Sunday.
31-June 2 — Walker Percy Weekend (Various locations in St. Francisville; www.walkerpercyweekend.org) — The literary festival celebrates the life and works of author Walker Percy, with panel discussions, discussions with Percy scholars, culinary events, live music and more. Hours vary. $160-$225.