The fun never stops in New Orleans, with festivals and family-friendly activities all weekend long. Be entertained with more than 80 different live performances around town as part of New Orleans Fringe Festival, and prepare to be wowed as Cirque du Soleil: Varekai takes the stage at the Smoothie King Center. Laugh out loud at the musical stylings of Garfunkel & Oates at House of Blues on Saturday night, and put on your best hat to join the St. Catherine’s Day Hat Parade on Sunday afternoon. Indulge at the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, where you’ll hear music by Rebirth Brass Band, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and more. Kids on board? Head to Audubon Zoo for an “ice” skating experience to remember.
1. New Orleans Fringe Festival – The theater festival that got its start in 2008 has grown to now feature more than 80 shows at more than 30 venues around town. The 2014 lineup includes Family Fringe, a series of free performances, workshops and events for kids and families on Saturday and Sunday at the Marigny Opera House. For tips on getting the most out of the festival, check out GoNOLA’s Insiders Guide to the 2014 New Orleans Fringe Festival. Find a full schedule of shows, venue map, and ticket information at nofringe.org.
2. Cirque du Soleil: Varekai – The current edition of the international pheneomnen tells the story of Icarus, the mythical man who flew to close to the sun and fell to earth. In this telling, Icarus falls into the midst of a forest inhabited by whimsical and enchanted creatures. The Smoothie King Center hosts Cirque du Soleil: Varekai all weekend, with performances Nov. 19-23. Tickets are on sale now through TicketMaster.
Saturday, November 22
3. Garfunkel & Oates – The musical-comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates (actress–songwriters Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci) who star in their own TV series on IFC comes to the House of Blues this Saturday night to perform songs like “Pregnant Women Are Smug” and “Gay Boyfriend.” New Orleans comic Andrew Polk opens. Doors open at 6 p.m.; show is at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are available for purchase.
Sunday, November 23
4. Po-Boy Festival – The annual Oak Street Po-Boy Festival is one of the most anxiously awaited free festivals of the year. Stuff yourself this Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. as more than 30 food and drink vendors serve up everything from traditional po-boys like fried shrimp or roast beef to fresh takes on the classic such as Creole Bánh Mì, Mexican Cheesesteak Po-Boy, and a sushi-inspired Rock ‘n’ Roll Po Boy. Stick around for four stages of live music, and shop the local businesses on Oak Street. Check out our picks for 10 Must-Try Po-Boys, or view a full music schedule and food vendor lineup at poboyfest.com.
5. St. Catherine’s Day Hat Parade – Get a head start on fancy hat season (Thanksgiving Day at the racetrack, anyone?), and put on your best chapeaux to join a French tradition which honors the patron saint of milliners, seamstresses and single women. The St. Catherine’s Day Hat Parade is free and open to the public, and kicks off at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Pleasant Street. A suggested donation of $10 goes toward providing live music for the parade: Bart Ramsey on French accordion and members of Zazou City perform during the parade from a mule-drawn carriage.
6. “Ice” Skating Day at Audubon Zoo – The Audubon Zoo hosts a family-friendly ‘Ice’ Skating Day event for kids of all ages, featuring a synthetic “ice rink” made of high-tech, eco-friendly plastic. The event takes place Sunday, Nov. 23 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Audubon Zoo Capital One Field and also features a DJ spinning holiday tunes and meet-and-greets with favorite cartoon characters. Admission to the rink is included with zoo admission or Audubon membership, with special skates provided for use at no additional fee.