FestiGals Announces 2017 Schedule, Grand Diva Robin Barnes, Keynote Speaker Linda Alvarado

NEW ORLEANS – FestiGals, the first and only New Orleans festival that inspires, connects and celebrates women while supporting causes important to their well-being, announced plans for the seventh annual women-centric event on the weekend of June 22-24 at the JW Marriott, 614 Canal St.

         The popular weekend event was created by women for women in 2011, and it combines a powerful, day-long Women’s Leadership Conference with bodacious festivities that offer many unique New Orleans experiences, FestiGals reps said. Following in the footsteps of local luminaries, Robin Barnes has been named FestiGals 2017 Grand Diva and will lead the annual Stiletto Stroll. Past Divas have included most recently Angela Hill and Irma Thomas.

         Headlining the New Orleans Women’s Leadership Conference on Friday, June 23, will be Linda Alvarado, president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc., a Denver-based commercial general contractor, construction manager, development, design/build and property management firm with 30 years of experience. Alvarado, whose appearance is sponsored by Morgan Stanley, made history as the first Hispanic owner of a Major League Baseball franchise. As an owner of the Colorado Rockies, her role is also significant as it marked the first time that any woman was involved in a bid for ownership of a Major League Baseball team. She is a nationally-recognized speaker and advocate for business issues and has been a commissioner of the White House Initiative for Hispanic Excellence in Education.

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         The information-packed program, themed Passion, Purpose and Power, also features three seminar tracks focusing on professional development, personal enrichment and New Orleans culture. Sessions include a diverse range of topics such as negotiations, next generation of leaders; communicating better, smarter, faster; EatFit FestiGals; New Orleans ladies of burlesque; and the growing Louisiana beer culture and the women tapping into the market.

         Featured speakers will include Intentional Kate; Propeller’s Andrea Chin; acclaimed attorney Kim Boyle; Chef Kristen Essig; burlesque diva Trixie Minx; Coulter IdeaPitch award winner Crystal McDonald; fitness pro April Dupree; Angela Grittman of Wayward Owl Brewery; self-proclaimed food goddess Lorin Gaudin; and other notables. Returning will be FestiTalks, rapid-fire, dynamic presentations on a variety of topics, which are delivered in small segments that are easy to retain.

         Friday’s New Orleans Women’s Leadership Conference will also honor key women in the community for their contributions in various fields at a midday keynote luncheon.

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         On Saturday, June 24, FestiGals is hosting its cherished Bodacious Bras for a Cause Brunch and Auction where the top fundraising bras from the Bodacious Bra Challenge are sold to the highest bidders. The Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans and Breastoration, Inc. will receive proceeds from the auction, which features a Thriver Fashion Show where models “thriving in their cancer recovery” sport fabulous attire from Stein Mart on the catwalk.

         The Bodacious Bra Challenge, another FestiGals fundraising initiative that premiered two years ago, is now accepting entries. Any company, organization or individual interested in decorating a bra to participate in the Challenge is encouraged to visit www.FestiGals.org and click the Bodacious Bra Challenge link.

         The celebrated downtown Stiletto Stroll, which offers women the opportunity to participate in an authentic New Orleans walking parade, is gearing up to become the world’s largest all women’s second line complete with live music, entertainers and dance groups. Colorfully attired female marching krewes will join FestiGals ladies to saunter through the Vieux Carre and across Canal Street for a fabulous After-Glow party, FestiGals reps said. Proceeds of fundraising marching krewes and newly formed groups will be donated to the New Orleans Family Justice Center, which helps families and individuals suffering from domestic violence.

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         View the full schedule of events here

         FestiGals’ single event tickets are available; but for the truly festive ladies, the FestiGals Diva Package is available and includes added perks such as a culinary demo/dinner with Chef Sam Carroll at Sac-a-lait, private home tours and an opening reception at the Louisiana State Museum’s Presbytere, FestiGals reps said.

         Founded in 2011 and produced by Diane B. Lyons and ACCENT- DMC, FestiGals, Inc. has collectively raised more than $130,000 through the highly-acclaimed Bodacious Bras for a Cause Brunch and Auction and the Bodacious Bra Challenge, which benefit the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans and Breastoration, Inc. Endorsed by the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation,  the New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network, and the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, FestiGals annually attracts more than 2,200 women from around the U.S. and Greater New Orleans area to the summer event.


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