Looking for an excuse to visit San Diego in May, or do you just need something to do? Check out San Diego's 14th annual Gator By The Bay Festival May 7th through the 10th at the Spanish Landing Park, across from the San Diego International Airport. This 2015 festival is the largest and most authentic Louisiana-themed event outside of the bayou. It features culture, music, food, shopping, and a lot of fun! Sponsored in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, and the County of San Diego, the Gator By The Bay Festival has activities and performances that every age can enjoy. Here are the schedules, line-ups, and info so that you can plan your exciting trip.
Thursday is pure Cajun Extravaganza with BeauSoleil. Doors open at 6pm with the welcoming band, G. Burns Jug Band, and at 7pm, Sara Petite. At 8pm, three-time Grammy winners BeauSoleil take the stage. Tickets are available in the rows ($45 per person), on straw bales ($25 per person), and at tables (with service $95 per person).
Friday is Gator by Night featuring the Bourbon Street Supper Club with delicious food and tasty drinks. Some of the headliners include: Brian Jack and The Zydeco Gamblers, Big Jon Atkinson, Kim Wilson, Kid Ramos, Kid Anderson, The Bayou Brothers, Tiffany Jane ans The Kicks, Velvet Cafe, Todd Waits Pigpen, Flipside Burners with Whitney Shay, and Palominos in a mix of blues specialists. The shows start at 4pm (doors open at 3:30pm) and go until 10:30pm.
Saturday is an all-day affair beginning at 11am (doors open at 10:30am) lasting until 8:30pm. The Mardi Gras Stage, the Bayou Grove, the Bourbon Street Stage, the Cooking Demo Stage, the Fountain Stage, and the Festival Stage will all be in full swing with food, drinks, music, and dancing headlined by some of the same bands from the night before, along with: Pine Leaf Boys, Terry and the Zydeco Bad Boys, Johnny "V" Vernazza, Corky Siegel, Sam Lay, Barry Goldberg, Marcy Levy, and many others from the Blues, Latin, and World Music Categories.
It is Mother's Day Sunday with a twist beginning at 11am (doors open at 10:30am) lasting until 7pm. All the stages and some performers will be going again with additions like Wayne Baker Brooks, Kara Grainger, Missy Anderson, Chet Canon, Len Rainey, Los Pinguos, Euphoria Brass Band, plus many others added throughout the day.
The French Quarter Food Court will be boiling over 10,000 pounds of crawfish with Mitch the Crawfish Man straight from Opelousas, Louisiana. Other specialties include: Po' Boys, wood smoked grilled hot links, sweet potato fries, pork chops, red beans and rice, Jambalaya, seafood gumbo, chicken gumbo, gator gumbo, gator on a stick, Etoufee, Boudin and Andouille sausage, hush puppies, breaded and deep fried catfish, cornbread, greens, beignets, sweet potato pie, cobbler, pecan pie, pralines, and bread pudding. For those craving typical festival food, there are also burgers, hot dogs, kettle corn, crepes, funnel cakes, and homemade ice cream.
If you are looking to learn the secrets of Southern Cooking, stop by the Taste of Louisiana food demo tent for professional intruction in cooking (and tasting) traditional Cajun and Creole dishes.
Once again, the location is Spanish Landing Park, North Harbor Drive, directly across from the San Diego International Airport. Tickets for the Thursday night concert range in price from $25 to $95, and Festival tickets range from $35 to $40. Children that are 17-years-old and younger are admitted free with a paying adult, and discounts are available for advance purchase and multiday passes. For $120 per day (Saturday and Sunday) or $200 for both days, Patron Passes include special access to the Patron Reception Area, along with a complimentary meal, personal meet and greet with headliners, complimentary craft beer, select wines, soft drinks, and water.
There is ample parking nearby at participating lots with a free shuttle, but there is also paid parking so stay alert for Gator Parking and Shuttle Stop signage.