By Tara Bennett
This will be the 10th anniversary for the festival, which did not go on last year. The fest is slated for this Friday, Oct. 23 beginning at 4 p.m. on Chimes Street. Presented by the North Gates Merchants Association, the event is free to the public and a great opportunity to discover what the North Gate community has to offer.
“The association are the businesses in the area that are helping to promote the culture and history and the entertainment of the North Gates,” said North Gate organizer Beth Zagurski. “Everyone can expect to experience what is the best of the local scene in Baton Rouge.”
The event features local artists and performances from local bands. This year students from the Baton Rouge Music Studios will kick off the festival’s musical offerings at 5 p.m., followed by The Easy, Ship of Fools, and Captain Green. One thing that is unique to the festival is that the selected bands are always up and coming and are never repeated.
“They’re whoever is fresh and new on the scene in general,” said Zagurski. “Or we may pay tribute to an original band that has been around Baton Rouge a long time. I’m really interested in seeing all of them this year since I haven’t seen any of them live.”
There are also other performances that pop up between music sets such as acro yoga, poi with LED lights, hula hoops and aerials to enhance the entertainment aspect of the night.
“We also have a balloon artist that comes out each year, that guy is incredible,” said Zagurski. “If you asked him to make the Eiffel Tower out of balloons, he would do it.”
Along with that, to throw back to the history and culture of the North Gates, a trivia contest is held based on historical information of the area.
“It would be questions like tell me the year Louie’s Café’ first opened,” said Zagurski. “Or what was the first bar put in this area. Questions like that.”
More than 20 local artists will be on display, with items for sale including jewelry, pottery, clothes and more. KLSU will be assisting with a Halloween costume contest for chances to win vinyl, tickets to shows, and gift cards to local businesses.
The fest is also a great opportunity to check out the newest businesses in the area including Newk’s, Barcadia, Mahoney’s, and The State Bar. The mainstays of the area Louie’s and Chimes will also be serving up delicious food.
According to Zagurski, the North Gates was the original entertainment district in the city.
“It’s where people would go to hang out, drink coffee, party and listen to live music,” said Zagurski. “[Students] get to experience something that maybe if their great grandfather or grandmother had gone to LSU, they’d be doing the same thing they were doing when they were students.”