The Rundown of the Running of the Bulls in New Orleans

Photo: Some rights reserved by Infrogmation

Most people are familiar with Spain’s Encierro de Pamplona, but not everyone might realize that New Orleans hosts its own Running of the Bulls. Here, though, the “bulls” are the roller derby skaters, dressed in the traditional colors of Spain’s bull run and wearing horned helmets, who whack the participants with plastic bats during this annual Encierro (bull run).

The 18th annual summer spectacle falls on July 12-14 this year. Here’s the daily rundown.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Friday evening marks the opening of SFNO, called El Txupinazo (pronounced “ el choo-pin-AHT-so”). One of the charities that benefit from this festival, Beth’s Friends Forever, will host this event at the event’s new venue this year, Gallier Hall (545 St. Charles Ave.) in Downtown New Orleans, 6-9 p.m. Expect live music, an open bar, a silent auction, and a live auction for a lifetime VIP package for SFNO.

Saturday, July 13, 2024

The actual Encierro will be held on Saturday. Join thousands of runners, wearing all white and accessorized with red scarves and handkerchiefs, as they gather by 6:30 a.m. by Gallier Hall. Yes, the party starts early, and there will be live music, beer, sangria, and food trucks on-site to get things going.

The Procession of San Fermin and an invocation kick off the morning, followed by the run, which starts at 8 a.m. sharp. The run lasts till about noon, followed by a post-run fiesta at Gallier Hall. After that, you can attend the traditional La Fiesta de Pantalones, location for 2024 TBA, starting at noon, or join the other revelers who stick around to make a day of it bar-crawling downtown, including the Warehouse District.

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Close out with the annual El Pobre de Mí (“Poor Me”), an Ernest Hemingway-themed party at Gallier Hall, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., with cocktails, burlesque, and a Papa Hemingway Look-a-like contest. This is a non-ticketed event, and there’s no cover, so you can pay as you go.

What else to know

  • All events happening on Friday and Saturday are ticketed — proceeds go to charity (get tickets online).
  • SFNO benefits Beth’s Friends Forever (named after Nola Bulls cofounder Beth Hanning), which raises money for financially needy women fighting cancer in the Greater New Orleans area. The second charity SFNO has chosen is Big Easy Animal Rescue.
  • Since drinking is part of the festival, prepare to get carded.
  • El Txupinazo on Friday is 18+ only.
  • While there is no dress code, the event organizers encourage everyone to dress in the style of Spain’s Encierro de Pamplona: white top and bottom, with something red around the waist and the neck. This being New Orleans, many runners do, and get very creative with their gear.
  • There are several paid parking lots in the area, but this is a popular event, so it will most likely be crowded, with limited parking options all around.
  • No outside food and drinks are allowed inside Gallier Hall on the day of the run, and no ice chests or chairs.
  • Review the rules of the run before you take off, like no touching the bulls and placing kids under 10 on the sidewalk.

Coming to New Orleans this Summer?

Check out our guide to where to stay in the French Quarter, and be sure to check out our resource for French Quarter Hotels. Also, consider booking a guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to experience the hauntingly beautiful past of New Orleans.

For easy, informative sightseeing, we recommend the City Sightseeing New Orleans city tour on the open-top, double-decker bus. It runs every 30 minutes through the Garden District, French Quarter, and CBD. You can hop on and off anytime!