Don’t Miss the New Orleans Mac N Cheese Fest

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 had one last year, and Chicago is planning another big one for November. Believe it or not, there wasn’t one in New Orleans until last year, but it looks like there’s always room for another food festival in our city.

New Orleans will be holding its second Mac N Cheese Fest on Saturday, October 20, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 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 preorder food and drink tickets here for pickup at the main entrance on the day of the fest ($10-$100).

This year’s festival poster has been created by the Opelousas-based artist, Sue Karr Boagni. You can pick it up at the fest or buy it anytime on the festival’s website ($40) along with the poster from the inaugural year created by the local artist Becky Fos.

This year, festival organizers are increasing the number of participating vendors from the last year’s 15 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 are working hard to ensure it won’t happen this year. And, like last year, each vendor will be set up in order to accommodate two lines of customers. Vendors will be serving at least one mac ‘n’ cheese dish, plus up to five non-mac items.

The vendor lineup includes The Big Cheesy, a popular local grilled cheese restaurant with locations in Kenner and Uptown, House of Blues Restaurant & Bar, Manning’s Sports Bar & Grill at Harrah’s, and Uptown’s Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar. The New Orleans-based BBQ pop-up called Gonzo’s Smokehouse, which you may have seen at the local markets and breweries, will be there. French Quarter’s seafood mainstay Oceana Grill and the historic Little Gem Saloon also signed up.

The mac ‘n’ cheese dishes will be judged by a panel of professional and celebrity judges in two categories: Overall Winner and Kid’s Choice Award. The hand-blown glass trophies that will be handed out to the winners once again had been made locally by Mark Rosenbaum of Rosetree Gallery.

The live music lineup is scheduled for the whole duration of the festival and will be booked House of Blues, one of the fest’s sponsors.

The festival is organized by Kent Broussard, who co-owns No Problem Raceway and Circuit Grand Bayou motorsports facilities in Belle Rose, Louisiana, and his partner Julie Egren. They will donate a portion of the proceeds to charities, including Tres Doux Foundation for children with developmental delays and disabilities.

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.

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