The 15th year of San Diego’s Gator by the Bay Festival was held this past weekend over the Mother’s Day holiday and was the perfect opportunity for families of the SoCal to get a taste of the Big Easy. Provided in part by the Louisiana Office of Tourism, this music and culture festival pulled out all the stops. Kicking off the weekend early on Thursday evening, the weather was beautiful all four days and brought crowds of people out to enjoy the variety of music that included Blues, Jazz, Soul, Zydeco, and laid back Folky/ Americana tunes with local artists like Sara Petite to big name Cajun born bands like Tab Benoit. Those lucky people who managed to make it out on Sunday were treated to an early morning cooking lesson of how to make beignets, a Café Du Monde legend, and also received a cup of hot Chicory coffee. After being treated to the Louisiana style breakfast of champions, guests were welcomed a la creole hospitality to join in with dance lessons, concerts, shopping stands, and even to make their own hats for the upcoming Second Line style parade. Lunch for hungry partiers could be found on “Bourbon Street” where food stands with traditional New Orleans flavors had been set up and a huge crawfish boil was in full swing. The Gator by the Bay festival was a great way for San Diegans to take a staycation and enjoy the flavors of a rich and decadent culture complete with Mardi Gras beads and big toothy smiles. For those who missed it, be sure to keep an eye out for it next year!