San Diegans can let the good times roll in May during the 2015 Gator By The Bay Festival as it brings Mardi Gras to life locally. This 14th annual zydeco, blues and crawfish festival will run from Thursday to Sunday, May 10, at the Spanish Landing Park, across from San Diego International Airport.
Gator By The Bay Festival, presented by San Diego’s Bon Temps Social Club, is the largest, most authentic Louisiana-themed music and food festival this side of the bayou. The event features four days of live music and will serve up 10,000 pounds of crawfish trucked from Louisiana. There will be nonstop dancing, shopping, playing and eating on the beautiful San Diego Bay as well.
“This is a festival where there is something for everyone. I can guarantee that you will discover something that you haven’t seen, heard or tasted before,” said Peter Oliver, a Gator By The Bay producer.
Music is central to the Gator By the Bay. Since its inception, the festival has grown to showcase Grammy-winning Cajun and zydeco artists directly from Louisiana, legendary Chicago and California blues artists, rockabilly and roots performers and award-winning salsa and Latin bands.
This year, guests will enjoy an expanded schedule of 85 eclectic musical performances on six stages, kicking off with a concert headlined by BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet from 6-10 p.m. May 7. Grammy winner BeauSoleil is an esteemed Cajun music ensemble that blends the rich Cajun traditions of Louisiana with elements of zydeco, New Orleans jazz, Tex-Mex, country, blues and more.
Other music offerings will keep the festival’s dance floors filled with thousands of pairs of feet twirling to Cajun waltzes, two-stepping to a lively creole-zydeco beat, swinging and jitterbugging to blues and boogie-woogie or moving to spicy Latin sounds. A listing of performers is available at gatorbythebay.com.
Festivalgoers will enjoy the French Quarter Food Court featuring authentic tastes of Louisiana. Many vendors will make a cross-country trip to serve fresh Louisiana-raised crawfish, boudin sausage, catfish, alligator, barbecue and oysters. There will be mouth-watering favorites including gumbo, jambalaya, po’ boys, etouffe, beignets, sweet potato pie and more.
All areas of Gator By The Bay are open to children, who can enjoy a variety of activities designed just for them. Festival patrons can indulge in retail therapy among carefully selected vendors offering art, hand-made jewelry, dancing shoes, clothing and accessories as well as Mardi Gras-inspired goods and clothing. Opportunities will also abound to soak up Louisiana culture at various presentations.
Gator By The Bay will be held from 6-10 p.m. on May 7; 3:30-10:30 p.m. on May 8; 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on May 9; and 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on May 10.
Festival and concert tickets vary in price, with discounts available for advance purchase on festival tickets or multiday passes only. Full pricing, availability and ticket option information is available at gatorbythebay.com. Also visit the website for information on lodging, parking and shuttles.
Financial support for Gator By The Bay is provided by the following: the city of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, the county of San Diego Community Enhancement program, the Port of San Diego, Redhook Brewing Company, KSDS Jazz-88, The San Diego Reader and U-T San Diego as well as the Louisiana Office of Tourism and their affiliate tourism bureaus. For more information visit, gatorbythebay.com.