French Market Creole Tomato Fest Expands, Seeks Tomato Recipes For 30th Anniversary Cookbook

NEW ORLEANS – The French Market will present the 30th Annual Creole Tomato Festival on Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 

         Festival grounds this year will stretch from Dutch Alley to Crescent Park, with additional activities at the French Market farmers market and Old U.S. Mint. The event is free and open to the public, and will feature fresh Creole tomatoes for sale, four live music stages, cooking demonstrations, children’s activities, Creole tomato eating contests and more.

         Highlights of this year’s festival include:

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• A new “Ripe and Ready Race” 5k run on Saturday, June 11, at 8:30 a.m.  The race will end at Crescent Park for the opening of the Crescent Park music stage.

• The first-ever festival music stage at Crescent Park will feature live local music until 7:00 p.m. both festival days, with food trucks and art vendors both days under the Mandeville Shed, an expansion of the usual monthly Crescent Park Bazaar.

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• A first-ever Creole Tomato Festival Cookbook, containing 30 Creole tomato festival recipes by local chefs, food writers, historians, home cooks and local farmers. The festival is still accepting submissions until Monday, April 25, here:

• A new “Bloody Mary Market” in Dutch Alley featuring a variety of Bloody Mary vendors and related food options.

• A new Dutch Alley Art Market hosted by Dutch Alley Artist Co-Op will be at Dumaine Plaza, at the “entrance” to the festival outside the Co-Op’s retail store at 912 N. Peters St.

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         Cooking demonstrations have always been a signature piece of the festival, with local chefs creating their favorite Creole tomato dishes to share with samples for the public. For the past five years, a Creole tomato eating contest for kids and adults has also been held at the Louisiana Cookin’ Culinary Stage at the Farmers Market. Cooking demonstrations will be held 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. both days of the fest in a tented area alongside the Farmers Market at Governor Nicholls and French Market Place.

         For the past two years, a “Best of the Fest” contest has been conducted to select the Tastiest, Healthiest, Most Traditional and Most Creative food booth offerings at the festival, which continues to attract some of the cities’ best known restaurants and caterers. Food booths will again be lined up in front of the Old U.S. Mint along Barracks Street.

         The “Ripe and Ready Rally” led by local health and fitness leader Eric “Doc” Griggs and Dancing Man 504 kicks off the festival on Saturday, June 11, at 10:00 a.m. with the “first bite of the season” followed by a secondline through festival grounds. One hundred fresh Creole tomatoes will be handed out to early bird fest goers to join in the “first bite”.

         Creole Tomatoes will be for sale by Ben & Ben Becnel Farms and George’s Produce at the French Market and near the food booths at the Old U.S. Mint. Customers who support local French Market District retail shops with a purchase of $25 or more will be provided with a voucher to receive a complimentary bag of tomatoes.

         A children’s area will include 6 interactive craft booths for kids, an outdoor foam playground provided by Playbuild NOLA, facepainting, balloon art, magic shows, children’s books for sale and storytelling, in addition to other free strolling entertainers and performers. This year, HeyNowHooping will provide Pop Up Hoop Jams and Epic Bubble Making Get Down sessions on both fest days. All of these activities will be on the Esplanade side of the Mint this year. The nola baby & family magazine stage will provide live music and entertainment for all ages both days from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

         This year, a new “Centennial Stage” on the grounds of the Old U.S. Mint will be produced and programmed by the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park in honor of the National Park Service’s Centennial year celebration. The stage will feature acts that represent all of Louisiana’s musical heritage, and will also have a special performance by the Centennial Band, especially created for this year’s celebrations. 

         Dutch Alley, where the festival had its start, remains a key location for the festival, as it connects the French Market District retail shops to the rest of the French Market District. Here, patrons will find a new feature to the 30th annual fest: a Bloody Mary Market, with 6-10 Bloody Mary offerings, an arts market hosted by Dutch Alley Artist’s Co-Op, and live music at the Dutch Alley Performance Pavilion.

         Just behind Dutch Alley is the French Market operated Riverside Parking Lot, which spans 4+ blocks and provides hundreds of parking spots for festival goers.  Patrons can also access the riverside RTA streetcar there, or walk along the River to access various points throughout the French Quarter.


         For more information




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