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Where Y’Eat: For Spring Food Fests, Different Paths, Cloudy Future

Ian McNulty
The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is one of the smaller events that normally pepper the local spring calendar.

After a curtailed Carnival and the homebound holidays, New Orleans is now seeing another of its  seasons laid low by the pandemic: festival season. 

Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest are both rescheduled for the fall and, looking ahead, Essence will be a virtual event again.

Between these big events, though, the spring calendar is peppered with smaller food and drink festivals. March is when this all usually gets rolling.

This year though, all are contending with the public health risk and the uncertainty of planning week to week, never mind months in advance.

Hogs for the Cause won’t happen in March, but organizers say they’re assessing options and fundraising for its pediatric cancer charity continues through barbecue event’s cook off teams. 

Top Taco, usually a big party of tacos and tequila on the Riverfront, is eying perhaps a fall return and all locations are on the table. New Orleans Bourbon fest is in the same boat, hoping to return in late summer  - location, still unknown.

But I’ve heard from two events that do have plans set to return, on different paths.

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience has a five-day schedule of tastings and classes and wine dinners booked for June at various New Orleans locations. The idea is to carry-on under the protocols and limits restaurants and hotels must abide. 

And then there’s Greek fest. The community of home cooks who prepare the food have recast Greek Fest as Greek Feast, a series of pre-order drive-through events held at the holy Trinity Greek Orothodox Church on Bayou Saint John. The next one is coming up in March and there’s another drive-through planned for Memorial Day weekend, when the festival would normally occur.

Eventually, Greek Fest planners want to get back to the full event, maybe even this year. But by focusing on food and changing their game, they are bringing some festive feel to our spring festival season.

After all, for many, opa springs eternal.

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