Bayou Classic Fan Festival

 Thousands gather at the 2018 Fan Fest to enjoy food, prizes and a variety of musical performances. Courtesy photo

The last day of the 45th Bayou Classic weekend is also the busiest and most important day of the entire weekend. It is the day that determines who will leave the city of New Orleans a champion.

Both The World Famed Marching Band and The Human Jukebox began the route for the parade that went through downtown New Orleans and lead to  the Fan Festival, held in Champions Square, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The event was open to the public and the admission cost was free. Both, Grambling and Southern fans, had a chance to come together right before the game to win prizes while enjoying some southern food and music.

The fest was filled with lots of different food trucks as well as other dining options, free prizes and even a free concert. The long list of entertainers was headlined by New Orleans natives, DJ Mannie Fresh and rapper Juvenile. As the crowd waited for each performer to come out, it seemed as if the anticipation was growing bigger and bigger.

Fans were not afraid to let their rivals know which school they were representing.

There were plenty of performances from local and upcoming artist, such as Neno Calvin, Daniel Heartless, Kevin Stylez and many more. “It is always a pleasure to represent my school, Southern helped me get many opportunities like these and I am forever grateful,” said Southern Alumni and rapper Daniel Heartless.

People look forward to eating New Orleans cuisine when visiting the city.

“Chicken on the Stick is usually my go-to every year for Bayou Classic,” said Traci Smothers, a Southern University alumnus.

Different vendors provided Cajun foods like jambalaya, barbecue root beer chicken nachos and much more. Jack Daniels was also spotted handing out their new products and drinks.

“Southern is full of opps, if you ask me, my cousin goes to Gram so that’s who I’m here for,” said Abraham Wilson, a supporter of Grambling State University. An “opp” is known as an opponent of the opposing team.

Metro by T-Mobile gave away clear stadium bags and phone accessories that matched each school’s colors as prizes for games. Different military branches; such as the Marines, offered demonstrations and gave out information at booths during the festival.  

 The Bayou Classic Fan Fest has many sponsors; such as Morris Bart since 2015, a local radio station Q93, and many more local businesses.

“I met my husband during Bayou Classic weekend back in 1988. He went to Southern,” said Grambling alumna Rachel Reynolds. “We lost that year so of course we have a house divided and my husband refuses to let me forget that game.”

The Fan Festival is a safe place for both rivals to come together and enjoy each other’s company before the war starts.