San Fermin en Nueva Orleans
(Running of the Bulls)
July 8-10, 2016
Set to coincide every year with the world-famous Encierro (Running of the Bulls) at the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain, the New Orleans version of the event is uniquely it own.
El Encierro (The Run)
On Saturday morning, July 9, the official procession of San Fermin in Nueva Orleans begins at 7:15 a.m. The runners take off at 8:00 a.m. and, at 8:15 a.m., the post-Encierro party begins, featuring live Latin music, along with food, drink and other exciting entertainment.
For all those participating in the run, please register in advance and be sure to wear white clothing with a piece of red cloth for your neck or waist! Of course, this being New Orleans, many of the participants take it even further, showing up in clever and imaginative costumes, especially as matadors and bulls.
Those who just want to spectate and watch the run from a “safe distance” are advised to stake out their places on the sidewalks along the route well ahead of time. This is a very popular event that grows every year and good viewing positions may well be at a premium come race time.
Though the event is meant to pay homage to the world famous, Encierro of Pamplona, there is one major difference. The "Bulls," for NOLA’s San Fermin are hundreds of roller derby athletes from around the world. New Orleans’ Big Easy Rollergirls will lead the charge when the encierro starts.
These "RollerBulls" skate behind the runners and, as they catch up with the slowest runners along near mile-long route through the CBD and Warehouse District, RollerBulls whack participants with wiffle ball bats. Of course, this is much less dangerous than the real bulls that run through the streets of Spain.
Other San Fermin Events
The festival officially kicks off on Friday, July 8 with the El Txupinazo party at The Little Gem Saloon in the shadow of the New Orleans Superdome. The festivities run from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. and feature live music, performances from local dance troupes (including Flamenco), and gourmet cuisine from some of the city’s top restaurants. A portion of the ticketed proceeds and funds raised from a silent auction will benefit local charities.
Two other events connected to the San Fermin Festival – both of which are free and open to the public – take place on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, July 9-10. They are the Fiesta de Pantalones (Pants Feast) on Saturday night and El Pobre de Mi (Poor Me) on Sunday.
The Saturday event features live entertainment and cocktails, and attendees are strongly encouraged to come dressed Pamplonese style. The Sunday event, typically starting at 12 noon, offers readings from the works of Ernest Hemingway, whose novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, popularized worldwide interest in the Pamplona Running of the Bulls. There will also be a Hemingway look-alike contest, an original skit contest, and tapas, along with Spanish specialty drinks.
For further information on all of the San Fermin Festival events, price ranges, guidelines and other details, go to the group's website www.nolabulls.com. You can read more about them on Facebook and Twitter.