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Get Loco In Nueva Orleans: San Fermin and the Running of the Bulls

running of the bulls new orleans
In New Orleans, our bulls are on skates (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

Want a big juicy taste of Spain, right here in New Orleans? Want to have a raucous good time, and get a bit of an adrenaline rush, while being chased by fun-hungry women on roller-skates?  Then the Running of the Bulls in New Orleans is right up your alley. 2013 marks the seventh anniversary of being able to run through the streets of downtown New Orleans (and really anywhere else that you’d like), wearing red and white and having women chase you down on roller skates. It sounds like a twisted fantasy from an 80s comedy thriller, but here in New Orleans, it’s oh so real.

Reasons to partake?  First off, it’s a freaking blast.  Second, you’ll be there with 14,000 fun-lovin’ folks, all of whom will be dressed in white with red scarves, making it quite the scene to behold.  Third, you get the thrill of running away from 350 – 400 “bulls,” and who hasn’t wanted to try that? In reality, the crazed bulls are the Big Easy Roller Girls, all of whom have graciously volunteered to chase you down through the streets. So beware, they are trained and ready for attack. They basically do this for a living.

The Running of the Bulls is part of a fantastico weekend of events known as San Fermin in Nueva Orleans. Thursday night you can indulge in one of the new San Fermin events, the Marques de Caceres Wine Dinner. The following day is when it really starts to get loco, with the caliente kick-off party, El Txupinazo, held at The Sugar Mill. Then, the main event: on Saturday, at 8 a.m. sharp, El Encierro (Running of the Bulls) starts the day off and the fun doesn’t stop when it’s done, because, you guessed it: there’s an after party. Fiesta de Pantalones keeps things going all night at Maison on Frenchmen St. After all the Español adventure, Sunday is a chance to wind down and celebrate victory with Pobre de Mi, a tapas brunch and cocktails at Maison. Whew! Kudos to those who make it to the Sunday event.  Ku. dos.

Perhaps you were there last year, and you already know how great it is.  In that case, you can simply show up and rock out; this isn’t your first rodeo. For newbies, runners must wear either a white shirt or white pants and have a red scarf or long red cloth tied around their waists and necks. If you don’t feel like that’s exactly your style, and you want to wear your favorite bull costume out, that will also be perfectly acceptable. If you just want to watch, you should claim your real estate well ahead of time.  This event is huge and attracts a LOT of people, so arriving early and getting a good spot is key.

Lastly, I say to you: Ole!

San Fermin in Nueva Orleans
July 11 – 14

El Encierrro: The Running of the Bulls
Saturday, July 13 at 8 a.m.

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