BULLS ON PARADE: A celebration of bulls, booze, and…rollergirls?
Every July the residents of New Orleans come together to celebrate the “Running of the Bulls” festival held at The Sugarmill downtown. The “bulls” in this case are members of New Orleans’ own Big Easy Rollergirls as well as other derby girls from across the nation. Runners and bulls alike are encouraged to dress in typical San Fermin flair of white clothing and red sashes. The New Orleans charm hasn’t lost its touch on this Spanish festival though. Many runners choose to ditch comfort for wow factor, praise, and even a costume contest held at the end of the race. The bulls also get in on the action with intense costumes and body paint worthy for even the most hardcore of bulls.
The attendees gather along a strip of road just before 8 A.M. where they sign in and receive their running numbers. If you think you have to pay to play though, you’re wrong. While you do have to pre-register to reserve an “official” place, the management asks everyone to join in on the fun. Although donations are advised, the event is not exclusive.
Promptly at 8 A.M., the master of ceremonies greets the crowd. After some encouraging words and a short tune from the Spanish brass band, the runners (and bulls) are off! The run is less than 2 miles in length and can be taken at a quick run, or a relaxing stroll. The Nola Bulls are sure to catch even the fastest running and slowest of stragglers. The “horns” are plastic red baseball bats that sting if only for a moment when struck on the rear (the only place they can smack you).
Over 18,000 runners and 400 bulls from around the country participated in the even this year making it one of New Orleans’ fastest growing festivals. The next run is scheduled to take place on July 8th, 2017 with different themed parties taking place the days before and after the run.
The run is a great time for families who enjoy eccentric crowds and live music. Take a friend or two, drink a little, and enjoy some great local food trucks.
Just remember that if you mess with the bull, you may just get the horns…
Info for San Fermin in Nueva Orleans and NOLA Bulls can be found here.
For more info about volunteering for the event, click here.