In addition to all the cultural
celebrations and festivities New Orleans celebrates, none can get more interesting
than the Running of the Bulls event happening this summer. Now if you are a world-traveler
or have heard of this event before, you know it originates in Pamplona, Spain
and is held every July 7 to 14. Knowing this, how did it come to New Orleans?
Did the city get actual bulls to fun freely throughout the French Quarter? Before
these questions are answered, let's first look at the history of this tradition
in Pamplona and how it comes to entertain New Orleans residents.
History of the Original Running with the Bulls
The Pamplona bull run is one of the most famous bull-runs or encierros in the world. This bull-run is so popular, it has been broadcasted on the national Spanish television channel for over 30 years. The bull-run starts on July 7 at 8 a.m. and continues until July 14, with bulls running on each day. The bulls run to celebrate the festival of Sanfermines, a festival to honor Saint Fermin, a legendary holy man and martyr. Before the bulls begin to run, a prayer is sang three times in Spanish and Basque to the statue of Saint Fermin. The prayer in English translates to "We ask Saint Fermin, as our Patron, to guide us through the encierro and give us his blessing."
The run then starts with six or more bulls running in different sectioned off parts of the city. The run overall is intended to instill courage and remembrance for festival goers and visitors alike. If you are over 18 you can actually run alongside the bulls as long as you are not inciting the bulls or under the influence of alcohol. Lastly, if visitors stay at the festival after the running of the bulls, they can also see bull fights held in the later afternoons.
San Fermin Festival in New Orleans
This year, San Fermin in Neuva Orleans is back with so much fun and activities to offer. With a continuous festival from July 8 to 10, New Orleans creates their own version of the famous Pamplona festival right in the heart of the city. Starting on July 8th, the festival begins with an event called El Txupinazo. El Txupinao is an all-day event filled with live music, food, drinks, and a live auction. The live auction awards one lucky winner a lifetime VIP pass of membership to the San Fermin in Neuva Orleans (SFNO) organization. Additionally, any proceeds from the auction go to Beth's Friends Forever, a nonprofit helping women in New Orleans battling cancer.
Bulls Run Wild in New Orleans
Finally on July 9, the bulls are let loose from The Sugar Mill, located at 1021 Convention Center Boulevard. The bulls for this event begin running at 6:30 a.m. but are not the type of bulls you might expect. These bulls are New Orleans own roller derby skaters running in horned helmets and wack participants with plastic bats if they get too close. Some annual festival goers and the organization themselves call their bulls the "Rollerbulls." While the bulls run, visitors can enjoy live music, beer, sangria, and food trucks on site. The running of the rollerbulls and a special procession of Saint Fermin last till about 11:30 a.m with a post run fiesta hosted at Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar & Restaurant. For this event, there is no cover to enter and will definitely keep the party going.
Finish Line for the Running of the Bulls Fest
Finish your three-day festival celebration on July 10, with a 12 p.m. lunch and Burlesque featuring Roxy Le Rouge and the Big Deal Burlesque gang. This will be hosted by the Ohm Lounge located on 601 Tchoupitoulas Street and will be an all-day event! With each day of this festival, have loads of fun and support a great cause. As mentioned earlier all proceeds for this event go to Beth's Friend Forever.
This organization helps women in your community with cancer get the proper care they need. So maybe if you are not into the whole party or bull scene, you can at least help a great cause in small ways! The last thing to remember when attending this event is to watch out for those rollerbulls, they will get you if you're not careful. Hope to see you there! For more information access the SFNO's website, where you can also buy tickets for this event ranging from $10 to $95.