What to expect at this weekend’s Baton Rouge Oyster Festival

The Baton Rouge Oyster Festival is back for its second year in the Capital City, thanks to the crowd of seafood-loving guests who made it a success last year. Almost twice as many expected festival-goers came out to Galvez Plaza downtown for its debut.

And this Saturday, May 18, the fest is gearing up for another big turnout. So get ready to spend your Saturday afternoon throwing back oysters, listening to live music and enjoying the festivities. Here’s what to expect at this year’s Baton Rouge Oyster Festival.

Photo by Raegan Labat

The food

We know that first and foremost, you’re here for the food. After all, this is a festival dedicated to one of the Gulf’s most delicious delicacies—and there will be plenty of fresh Gulf oysters provided by Inland Seafood. But you can find many more eats at the festival’s 11 vendors, which include Mansurs on the Boulevard, BRQ Seafood & Barbeque, Phil’s Oyster Bar & Seafood Restaurant, Don’s Seafood, Cecelia Creole Bistro and more. The fest will also have full bars and additional beer vendors.

The music

Take a break between drinks and food to catch live music by J and the Causeways, Adam Dale, Meriwether, Soul Rebels Brass Band and headliner Toad the Wet Sprocket, known for its breakthrough ’90s hits such as “Walk on the Ocean” and “All I Want.”

The competitions

The oyster shucking competition starts at 1:30 p.m. and the oyster eating competition at 4:45 p.m. The oyster cook-off winners will be announced at 8:45 p.m. You can check out more information on the schedule here.

More festival activities to check out

Head over to the Old State Capitol for the fest’s “Under the Shell” presentations on the oyster industry, the local music scene and more. Stay outside to peruse the fest’s food and arts market noon-6 p.m., or walk over with the kids to the lawn of the Old State Capitol for obstacle courses, circus acts and more kids activities.

Pre-game and post-game events

Thinking about starting the party early? Pre-game the fest at Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar‘s Bloody Mary pre-party sponsored by Bloody Revolution – Gourmet Bloody Mary Mixes. The party kicks off at 10:30 a.m., perfect timing for a mid-morning drink. Jolie Pearl is at 315 North Blvd.

Top off the night at Happy’s Irish Pub for the post-fest afterparty. The Anteeks will be rocking 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Oyster Fest VIP ticket holders will get free admission to the party. Happy’s is at 136 Third St.

The basics

The festival is noon-11 p.m. at Galvez Plaza downtown at 238 North Blvd. The fest is free, but VIP tickets are available for $60-$75. Tickets include access to the after party, front-row viewing, tented areas, private bathrooms and a private cash bar, as well as four drink tickets and two food tickets. Tickets can be purchased here.