Disclosure: this is a sponsored event announcement, but everyone should know about the family fun that is Creole Tomato Festival! See the full schedule.
What is Creole Tomato Festival?
The Creole Tomato Festival was founded in 1986 to celebrate all things homegrown about Louisiana. By celebrating the Creole tomato, you celebrate the things that can only come from South Louisiana soil … our produce, culture, music – and our resilience.
Heading into summertime, we need all the inspiration we can get! It’s hurricane season, and it’s bloody hot. So, take some time between school ending and your family vacation to revisit the French Quarter, rediscover the French Market and all the new offerings by artists, food vendors, and new retail shops, and know that you are part of something larger: the opening of the tomato season, and the honoring of our unusual culture and cuisine.
The French Market has been around since 1791, but the Creole Tomato Festival is a bit younger: it turns 28 this year.
Creole Tomato Festival is Family Friendly! (Dutch Alley :: 916 North Peters)
If you are in that number of folks who have not made it the festival because you might be festival’d out by June, you might reconsider once you find out some facts that make it very appealing to families and kiddos:
- Dutch Alley (located between Dumaine and St. Phillip, right off the River; the main French Market parking lot is right behind it) is a kid-centered haven during the Festival. There are four interactive craft booths manned by local artists and artist groups where kids can make and take items home for free: Secondline hankies with tomato stencil decorations; tomato hand puppets, tomato bracelets, and Mr. Tomato Heads!
- Miniature golf hosted by Partee Rentals happens under a 20 foot tent with seating for grown-ups wanting a break.
- Playbuild, a new nonprofit dedicated to creating playspaces in otherwise non-playground urban areas, will be setting up their 16 x 16 foot temporary playground—complete with Astroturf!
- One of two live music stages is in Dutch Alley, where also exists three full bars..one across from the mainstage, one at Dumaine, and one at St. Phillip! Yes, you CAN drink Bloody Marys, listen to excellent live music, and still maintain full parental control!
- Free indoor entertainment occurs all day inside the air-conditioned New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park:
Saturday June 7:
- 11:00 a.m. Johnette Downing performs Louisiana themed songs.“It’s a heaping helping of fun when children’s musician Johnette Downing sings some tasty, tummy-tempting food songs for families. This Creole tomato will debut her new “Vegetable Man” song that is ripe for picking AND singing!”
- 12:15-1:15 p.m. Funny Bones Improv
- 2-3:00 p.m. — “Songs for Junior Rangers” featuring Kristina Morales, Russell Thomas, Matt Hampsey, Bruce Barnes, Richard Scott, and Michael Harris.
- 3:30-4:30 – The Chorus Girl Project Presents: The Creole Tomato Dance Cabaret starring The Nola Chorus Girls
Sunday June 8:
- 10:30 a.m.-11:30 DOC GRIGGS hosts his signature program “Get checked. Get fit. Get moving!” with a Creole tomato twist and fun facts on the health benefits of Creole tomatoes. Participants will get a sampling of Creole tomatoes, then step in line with a secondline led by Dancing Man Darryl Young!
- 12 noon-1 p.m. Seguenon Kone African drumming workshop
- 1:30-3:00 p.m. Le Petit Tomato Sing-Along: Fun and familiar kid songs with a swing featuring Jayna Morgan on vocal, Joe Kennedy on piano, and Ted Long on bass. This trio will have you finger snapping, toe tapping, and dancing in your seats! All ages welcome for a fun time.
- 3:30 to 4:30 Award-winning UPTOWN MUSIC THEATRE presents a musical theatre revue directed by Delfeayo Marsalis
Eat Your Way Through Creole Tomato Festival
INSIDER’S TIP: If you spend $30 or more in any French Market District retail shop, you get a complimentary bag of fresh Creole tomatoes!
Tomatoes and other fresh produce will be for sale throughout the festival, and festival food offerings include what might be considered your daily serving of both fruits and vegetables (since no one seems to be able to decide if the tomato is a fruit or veggie). Each vendor is required to serve a Creole tomato dish, and each offering must be $7/less, which makes the fest a good family bargain.
Samples of food booth items include (there are 14 total; this is just a sample):
- Andrea’s Restaurant and Catering: Creole tomato mozzarella caprese, Creole tomato eggplant paramigiana, Creole tomato crabcake Andrea
- Crepes a la Cart: Creole tomato, basil & mozzarella crepe; bacon and cheese crepe; Black and gold (Nutella and bananas) crepe; butter & sugar crepe
- Food Drunk Food Truck: Creole tomato and monster gulf shrimp; Drunken Pig, duck fat fries
- George’s Produce: Creole tomatoes with hass avocados and Vidalia onion in a homemade vinaigrette; sliced Creole tomatoes with lump crab and remoulade dressing
- Red Gravy: Creole tomato summer pasta; grilled sausage & peppers with roasted tomato aioli; homemade cannoli, meatballs & bruschetta hoagie
- Something Else Café: Creole tomato gazpacho with crabmeat; Bousin Ball; Alligator corn dog
- Voleo’s: Fried green tomatoes with Creole sauce
Fun Fact: Tomatoes were legally declared a vegetable, for consumers’ sake, in 1893. Over a hundred years later, in 2003, the Creole tomato was declared the Louisiana state vegetable plant!