Experience the thrill of a lifetime at this year’s Running of the Bulls (San Fermin in Nueva Orleans) festival, a unique spin on the traditional event that takes place in Pamplona, Spain. We think it’s safe to say New Orleans’ version is a lot less dangerous — and maybe even more fun!
On the weekend of July 12-14, the runners and the “bulls” will come from all over to partake in this exciting festival that involves runners who wear all white with the exception of a red piece of cloth, running from the bulls, who are actually the Big Easy Rollergirls with wiffle ball bats.
Running of the Bulls takes place in the Central Business District in downtown New Orleans, and features a number of delicious local restaurants, food carts, and drinks for you to consume while you are out in the streets defending yourself from the ruthless bulls. On the day of the run, Saturday, July 13, the fun starts as early as 6:30 a.m., centering around the Sugar Mill (1021 Convention Center Blvd.). Live music, sangria and food trucks will help get the party started, and, after the Procession of San Fermin (Pamplona’s patron saint) and the Invocation, the run begins at 8 a.m. sharp.
Running of the Bulls is not just meant for the runners and the bulls to enjoy — spectators are more than welcome to this public event. And there will be plenty to see, as the bulls will be chasing after the slowest runners first, whacking them with wiffle ball bats. (This part is similar to the traditional Spanish festival, minus the actual goring from the live bulls.) While many of these feisty bulls will be sporting black and red horns and various accouterments, you will have the chance to see some wild and ornate costumes from both bulls and runners. This is New Orleans, after all.
The route begins and ends at the Sugar Mills, and the run will end around 11:30 a.m. A live music show back at the Sugar Mill will follow. After that, you can attend the traditional La Fiesta de Pantalones, held this year at the Rusty Nail (1100 Constance St.) starting at 11:30 a.m., or just stick around to join the other revelers to partake in some downtown bar-crawling.
Also, don’t miss the festivals opening and closing parties. The opening party takes place on Friday, July 12, at the Sugar Mill, from 5 to 9 p.m. Called El Txupinazo (and pronounced “el choo-pin-AHT-so”), it features a live auction, music, and food from some of the top local restaurants, including Atchafalaya, Commander’s Palace and Sobou.
The Ernest Hemingway-themed closing party, called El Pobre de Mi (“Poor Me”), will wrap things up on Sunday, July 14, at Lula Restaurant Distillery (1532 St. Charles Ave.), 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This will be your chance to recover from the run with burlesque, cocktails, and a Papa Hemingway look-alike contest.
Don’t miss your chance to participate in a unique New Orleans experience! Grab your festival tickets today, and reserve your spot at the Place D’Armes Hotel, conveniently located in the New Orleans French Quarter.