225 Fest returns this weekend with new vendors, the Human Jukebox, an art walk and more

Celebrate the Capital City at the second annual 225 Fest held in downtown Baton Rouge this Sunday, Feb. 25, with vendors and activities that aim to showcase the unique and diverse culture of the area. 

225 Fest founder Myra Richardson says this year’s 225 Fest will even have extended the event’s hours compared to last year’s to ensure attendees can get more out of their day. The festival is free to attend and will run from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday with performances, live music, food trucks, a health fair, an art walk and so much more. 

225 Fest founder Myra Richardson. Photo by Ariana Allison.

“We really expanded our mission this year because we wanted people to taste, touch and feel Baton Rouge through our eyes,” Richardson says. “Our real goal and our mission is to make sure that people have a full-encompassing experience.” 

Last year’s inaugural festival drew about 14,000 attendees, and Richardson says there are already over 17,000 people preregistered to attend this year’s festival. She says she’s even heard from people who have moved from Baton Rouge who hope to travel home just to attend the event. 

“I think 225 Fest will go down in history as a homecoming for Baton Rouge,” she says. 

The first 225 Fest was planned in only 90 days. Richardson got the idea to start a Baton Rouge-themed festival after seeing a social media trend in which the date 2/25 was dubbed 225 Day and people posted about what they loved most about the city. This time around, she has taken over a year to plan the festival’s return to make it bigger and better. 

“Doing it all in 90 days, a lot of things fell through the cracks,” she says. “It was a learning curve, but again, it was our best effort to show up for Baton Rouge. I think that’s kind of the spirit of Baton Rouge, meeting the moment, so our goal is to continue in future years to meet the moment and show up for Baton Rouge the way it has shown up for each of us in our professional and personal life.”

Along with a longer festival day, Richardson shares that there will be other new additions to the fest. There will be a Fair Zone sponsored by BREC Parks, a Senior Zone sponsored by the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging, a halftime show by Southern University’s Human Jukebox and a performance by the Southern Lotus Lion Dance. Nearby, the Capitol Park Museum will also be open with ticket prices less than $10 for attendees. 

Attendees should come with an appetite to enjoy a lineup of new and returning food trucks like Leroy’s LipSmack’n Lemonade and Offset Smoker BBQ. There will also be a Taste of Baton Rouge live tasting demonstration in which local chefs like Chris Motto, Celeste Gill and Brandon “Chef B” Williams will offer 100 free samples of gumbo, etouffee and jambalaya made with special twists, flavor and flair.  

Richardson hopes that by including different aspects that cater to plenty of ages, nationalities and interests, this year’s 225 Fest will meet the needs of the community in which it takes place. 

“We really want (225 Fest) to be very expansive,” she says. “And to show that Baton Rouge is not just LSU and Southern. It’s not just the place people come (in) a natural disaster. And, it’s not just a place where policy is made. We’re a vibrant fostering community. … If you’ve never heard about Baton Rouge, this is a perfect opportunity for you to learn about it, hear about and feel us at our best.” 

Richardson has plans to make 225 Fest even more expansive in year three by growing it to a weekend-long festival to showcase more, and because the date 2/25 falls on a weekday next year. 

Still, Richardson says she cannot take full credit for the success of 225 Fest. She believes people in the community were already on board with the idea of 225 Day and were eager to celebrate Baton Rouge for what it has to offer. 

“I think that so many amazing people come from this city,” Richardson says. “225 Fest is just an amplification of that, and people already believe these things to be true. I think that if we give them an opportunity to show themselves in their best light or just show our city in the best light, they’ll take advantage.”

225 Fest will be from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25, in downtown Baton Rouge. Head over to the festival’s website to RSVP for the event.