Don’t Miss the New Orleans Mac N Cheese Fest
Photo courtesy of NOLA Mac N Cheese Fest on Facebook
Why mac ‘n’ cheese, you ask? If we can throw a festival for a Creole tomato or pretty much every type of seafood swimming in the Gulf, why not celebrate this quintessential American dish?
The rest of the country has been honoring mac ‘n’ cheese with its own festival in places like California and New Mexico. Baton Rouge has one, and Chicago’s version is enormous, for example. Believe it or not, there wasn’t one in New Orleans until two years ago, but it looks like there’s always room for another food festival in our city.
New Orleans will be holding its third Mac N Cheese Fest on Saturday, October 12, from 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Louis Armstrong Park (701 N. Rampart St.). The sprawling park in Tremé sees its share of festivals, and it’s a perfect location because of its size and proximity to the French Quarter.
The fest is free and kid-friendly. It will feature dozens of mac ‘n’ cheese dishes from Louisiana restaurants, pop-ups and food catering businesses. You can buy food and drink tickets by the main entrance on the day of the fest.
This year, festival organizers are increasing the number of participating vendors yet again to accommodate the fest’s growing popularity. The inaugural festival was such a success several vendors even ran out of their offerings before the day was over. The organizers were working hard to ensure it didn’t happen last year. Last year, each vendor was set up to accommodate two lines of customers, serving at least one mac ‘n’ cheese dish, plus up to five non-mac items.
In the past, the vendor lineup included The Big Cheesy, a popular local grilled cheese restaurant with locations in Kenner and Uptown, House of Blues Restaurant & Bar, and Manning’s Sports Bar & Grill at Harrah’s, and French Quarter’s seafood mainstay Oceana Grill were represented last year.
The mac ‘n’ cheese dishes will be judged by a panel of professional and celebrity judges to select the best mac ‘n’ cheese in the city. Past winners included the local BBQ pop-up Gonzo’s Smokehouse & BBQ, in 2017, for its brisket mac ‘n’ cheese; and Uptown’s Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar last year, for its crawfish version of mac ‘n’ cheese.
New this year is the introduction of the Artist Market. This year will also be the start of a new festival tradition, the NOLA Mac n’ Cheese Eating Contest. The brave souls (with iron stomachs) will compete for the honor of earning the title of the New Orleans’ Biggest Mac n’ Cheese Fan.
The live music lineup is scheduled for the whole duration of the festival. Visit the festival’s website and Facebook page for the updates on the vendor and music lineup and the unveiling of this year’s roster of judges.
A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit Special Olympics Louisiana, which will be at the Fest hosting the Unified Play Area. Bring the whole family!
Looking for somewhere to stay during your visit to New Orleans this fall? Find your perfect historic French Quarter hotel at FrenchQuarter.com/hotels.