You could poll just about anyone across the country, asking them what season it is, and your answer would likely unanimously be spring. However, if you stop a local in New Orleans and ask the same question, chances are you’ll get a mix of answers ranging from snowball season, crawfish season, or festival season. if you want to let loose and let the good times roll, head on over to a local festival and immerse yourself in the culture that has defined New Orleans since the beginning of time.
Gone are the days of being young, wild, and free, but that doesn’t mean you have to hang up your straw hat and kiss your festin’ days goodbye; there’s still tons of fun to be had! If you fall into the senior discount crew, the biggest difference is going to be planning ahead, where previously you may have picked up and headed out on a whim. Getting a few things in order will ensure that you make the most of your time, allowing for an enjoyable experience. A fest is also a great way to get out of the house and avoid the negative effect of watching too much television. Here are our best tips for seniors who are ready to set out for a day of fun in the sun!
Timing is Everything
While most festivals attract a rather sizable crowd, there are specific days or times that are a bit slower than others. If you’re wanting to avoid peak times, look for ‘locals only’ days or consider going when the gates open for the day. Both options will still provide the same experience, with access to live music, laid back festers, classic New Orleans dishes, and everything else you can expect from a festival, without the heavy crowds. As the day goes on, the number of people will generally multiply, as the headliners typically close out the days. Louisianians senior population is ever growing and most festivals have “locals only” days which are reserved for Louisiana residents, requiring an ID proving residency to enter. It’s also held on a weekday, so the crowd is substantionally thinner than other days. As an added perk, ticket prices are generally discounted, making it your most affordable option when budgeting or fixed income.
Hydration is Key
Before you even step foot on festival grounds, you can start properly hydrating in preparation for what could be a long day in the sun! Make sure you drink a minimum of 64oz of water each day leading up to the festival. This will help you ward off the risk of dehydrating while out there. Though not all fest days are bright and sunny, many are, making it very hot. Being 65 and older puts you at a greater risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, which is a guaranteed way to spoil an otherwise wonderful day! Don’t slow down on your water intake once you get there; be sure to continue to hydrate throughout the day.
Dress the Part
You want to make sure you’re dressed appropriately from head to toe. Starting at the top, be sure to wear a full coverage hat to protect yourself from the rays of the sun; even if it is overcast, don’t be fooled! Some of the worst sunburns occur on cloudy days. Moving down, make sure your outfit is seasonally appropriate for the forecast. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothes are usually the best option. You want to make sure your outfit is comfortable and you are able to move around in throughout the day. Finally, there’s a considerable amount of walking involved with festin’, so make sure you wear sensible shoes! Choose a comfortable pair with a supportive sole that can handle uneven grounds. Now is not the time to test out a new pair of kicks! The last thing you want is to end up with blisters from breaking in your shoes.
While you do not want to haul a large amount of stuff around, it is important to pack the essentials to ensure that you are properly equipped to enjoy the day to the fullest. First, it is advisable to bring along a tailgate chair so you are able to take a load off; this will allow you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show! We recommend a chair that has a canopy attached to it. However, if you have a regular tailgate chair, bring along a small chair umbrella to protect yourself from the direct sun.
The only other thing you should bring along is a backpack filled with a few key items. Here is our list of “must haves”:
- Sunscreen– Apply at least 30 minutes before you leave, and throughout the day, to prevent unwanted sunburn.
- Lip balm– Be sure to bring one with SPF, because like your skin, you want to protect your lips from the rays of the sun.
- Electric fan– There are many small, compact (but powerful) fans on the market for an affordable price. Staying cool and hydrated is essential to comfortably, and safely, enjoying the day.
- Hand Sanitizer– Wash stations are few and far between, keep some sanitizer on hand to ward off any unwanted germs.
- Tissues– This is always good to have… just in case! Pick up a small purse pack to toss in your bag.
- Empty reusable water bottle– You can refill throughout the day to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion.
- Poncho– You just never know when the weather will switch gears, so it is best to be prepared– nothing is worse than sitting in wet clothes!
- First aid kit– A simple first aid kit with alcohol swabs, band aids, Tylenol, antibiotic ointment, etc. is wise to take along. Hopefully it won’t be needed, but if it is, you’ll be happy to have it. Also include any necessary prescriptions that you may need during the timeframe you’re there.
- Cell phone– Be sure you have a way to communicate with others, in case of emergency!
- Fest Map– Grab a map so you can easily navigate your way around; be sure to note important locations such as restrooms, first aid, and filling stations.
Consider taking an Uber or Lyft to save the hassle of parking, walking, etc. Most festivals have a drop-off area specifically designated for these services, bringing you right near the entrance. If you have any mobility limitations, research ahead for necessary accommodations.
Preparation is essential for having an enjoyable and safe time. Know your limitations and be realistic. If a full day isn’t in the books, consider heading out for a couple of hours of fun! Stay hydrated, stay safe, let someone know your plans, and consider a festival companion so you aren’t out there alone.