Oktoberfest in New Orleans, Top Taco in Metairie both return with new protocols | Where NOLA eats

Two local festivals are expected to take place in the coming days, each with food as a centerpiece and with new coronavirus safety protocols in place to bring them back.

This Friday (October 22) marks the return of the region’s oldest and biggest Oktoberfest celebration after a two-year hiatus in the pandemic. It continues every Friday and Saturday through November 13, with home-style German food, dozens of beers and other libations, live music and family activities, from a dog parade to a costume contest ( see details below).

The Wiener Dogs take on the finish line at the 2018 Oktoberfest Dachshund Races to benefit Animal Rescue New Orleans at Deutsches Haus’s new home on Moss Street.

It is the flagship event of Deutsches Haus, the almost century-old German cultural club. It takes place outside on the grounds around his clubhouse along the Bayou St. John.

The club started planning Oktoberfest this year when the pandemic seemed to be abating and many other festivals were filling the fall calendar. Most of them were canceled when the Delta variant ravaged Louisiana.


Volunteer Mike “Mr. Oktoberfest” Messina pours beer during the Oktoberfest event at Deutsches Haus in New Orleans on Saturday, October 13, 2018. The event celebrated over three weekends in October celebrates the history and culture of the German people.

But Deutsches Haus executives have remained cautiously optimistic about continuing their own smaller-scale outdoor event, and they are now on the verge of doing so.

To enter the field, anyone 12 years of age or older will need to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result. This complies with a city requirement for outdoor events of 500 people or more when attendance is greater than 50% of the capacity of an outdoor venue. Low capacity external events do not require proof of vaccination.

12 events donde comer y beber esta semana

Lots of beer choices at Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest, which is back at the organization’s home on Bayou St. John. (Photo by Chris Granger, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Archives)

Deutsches Haus has a lot of space around its grounds. But with reasonable certainty that people will gather near the stage and the food and drink stalls, club president Brian Huber said the group has decided to take the safer route.

Best taco returns


Margaritas line a bar at Top Taco, New Orleans’ annual taco festival and competition.

Another local food festival, Top Taco, also returns later this month with the same proof of vaccination requirement in place. He also missed two years on his usual dates.

Normally held on the shores of New Orleans in the spring, this year’s Top Taco is October 28 at Lafrenière Park in Metairie.

Best Taco Festival 2018

Friends sit around a small table with tacos and tequila drinks during the Top Taco event at Spanish Plaza in New Orleans in 2017. (Photo by Chris Granger, NOLA.com | The Times- Picayune)

With no mask warrant or restrictions on the size of events in Jefferson Parish or any other part of Louisiana outside of New Orleans, the vaccination requirement was a voluntary decision. Event producer Shane Finkelstein has said he wants to show a way to continue events during the pandemic.


A traditional pork taco from Taqueria Chilangos at the first Top Taco festival in 2017. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune)

The event aims to raise funds for the PLEASE Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides young people with mentorship and scholarships to obtain a college education. The group had already enrolled new students this year, partly relying on Top Taco recipes. This gave Top Taco new impetus to find a way forward.

The event will cap attendance at 3,500 people, and the grounds will be landscaped to encourage open foot traffic and less congregation. The event has live bands, but unlike a music festival, Top Taco’s main attraction is the food, served at dozens of individual stalls that can be spread across the park. Tickets for Top Taco include all food and drink (see details below).


Members of a bar crew were dressed for the occasion at the Top Taco Festival in New Orleans in 2017. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune)

Finkelstein heard some people say they wouldn’t participate because of the policy, but he said tickets sold out quickly and he was encouraged by the positive comments he had received from others.

“I think people are really excited because there hasn’t been a festival for so long,” he said.

Make plans, progress

12 events donde comer y beber esta semana

Stefania Santos and Alexandria Lamanna participate in a beer mug holding contest during Oktoberfest hosted by Deutsches Haus. (Photo by Brett Duke, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Archives)

At Oktoberfest, people will also find more food stalls spread across the grounds, instead of a central catering tent as usual.

Like pretty much everything else under the sun right now, supply chain issues and price increases made planning for Oktoberfest difficult.


Rue, Sheila Hernandez’s dog, tries to drink a sip of beer at the Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest on Friday October 6, 2017.

Fortunately, said club manager Jack Gonzales, the volunteer-intensive event can always count on people dedicated to its success. After two years without a real Oktoberfest in New Orleans, they are more eager than ever to attend.

“It is the backbone of our ability to organize a festival,” he said. “They make it possible.”

Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest

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Deutsches Haus members hoist mugs of beer towards the Bavarian flag ahead of last year’s Oktoberfest.

1700 Moss Street

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22, 23 Oct, 29, 30 Oct, 5, 6 Nov, 12, 13 Nov

Fridays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Admission: $ 10 (11 years old and under free)

Don’t miss:

Beer: In addition to a dozen imported German beers, look for local specialty beers, including an Oktoberfest from Faubourg Beer (served only at the festival and in the Faubourg’s own tasting room), a dunkel (brown lager) from NOLA Brewing and a range of German-style beers from Urban South Brewery. There is also German wine and schnapps.

Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest will take place on Friday, but will cancel on the first Saturday

Wiener schnitzel, far right, and Jaeger schnitzel dishes as they will be served at the 2017 Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest in New Orleans. The festival returns to New Orleans for the first time since 2010. (Photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

The food: hearty, house-style German platters with dishes that change every weekend, as well as snacks, street food, and desserts, like pretzels, bratwurst sausage, and apple strudel.

Schauzer spacer dog costume parade (all types of dogs accepted), Oct. 30, 3 p.m.

Friendly and family Halloween costume contest, Oct. 30, 5:50 p.m.

Dachshund races, November 13 (time to be confirmed)

Masskrugstemmen (beer mug holding contest, several times a day)

Schnitzelbank traditional German song, several times a day

“Chicken dance song, “daily, and more or less indefinitely

See details and group times on oktoberfestnola.com

Top Tacos


A topping bar in action for tacos at the Top Taco Festival in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune)

When: October 28

Where: Parc Lafrenière, 300 boul. Downs, Farm

Tickets cost $ 75, $ 95 (for early entry) and $ 125 (VIP).

Info: toptaconola.com

Don’t miss:

The tacos: from local restaurants across the spectrum, from high end restaurants to food trucks, compete for prizes in different categories and bring their A game. Tickets include all food and drink.


A cauliflower taco from Johnny Sánchez restaurant in New Orleans won the 2018 Top Taco festival and competition.

Tequila: Restaurants and bars also compete for cocktail prices, and the event sees fun promotions and stalls from top tequila brands.

Luche Libre wrestling fight

The day of the Dead costume contest

Live music by Otra, Muevelo and (in the VIP area) Darcy Malone and the Tangle

After the party after the festival at 5216 Tap & Table (5216 Veterans Blvd.) with DJs, free admission

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