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New Orleans may have the corner on Cajun, but San Diego’s Gator by the Bay Festival achieves a huge Cajun-style bash every year. This year’s Gator by the Bay Festival will take place May 5-8, 2016.

The Bon Temps Social Club of San Diego puts on the festival each year. This club, a dancing club, makes sure big dance floors, shaded spaces and good music are all high marks of the Gator by the Bay Festival.

Since The Bon Temps Social Club of San Diego held its first dance on Valentine’s Day in 1991, the music has changed to include Creole zydeco in its various forms. With the love San Diego has shown Louisiana music and culture since, you’d think we had a huge transplant population.

The Festival isn’t the only time and place to enjoy dance. Every 2nd Saturday the club sponsors a dance with live music in Balboa Park, we sponsor a stage with dance floor and 2 full days of music each year for December Nights.

What to expect at the Gator by the Bay Festival

Gator By the Bay isn’t simply Cajun anymore. Through the years, it’s grown and changed to include blues, country and many other musical genres. Music and dance lovers from around the world make up this 18,000+ person crowd.

The 2016 Lineup

It’s virtually impossible to list all the performances at Gator by the Bay–so far, there are more than 90 performances planned on 7 stages.

Check back on the Gator by the Bay website for updated lists of performances.

Bayou Grove Stage

Of course, the unique and joyful sense of the Louisiana Cajun/Creole culture is reflected throughout the festival. You can learn more about the music, history and personal stories on The Bayou Grove Stage, which offers workshops, jam sessions and presentations.

Cupped by ivy and thick shade trees the Bayou Grove invites visitors to settle onto straw bales and enjoy the opportunity to interact with the musicians on a more personal level.

French Quarter Food Court & Demo Tent

Gator by the Bay Festival

Gator by the Bay Festival

In the French Quarter Food Court you’ll find all sorts of Louisiana specialties, including Po’Boys; Wood Smoked grilled Hot Links; Sweet potato fries; Melt-in-your-mouth pork chops; Smoky salty red beans and rice; Jambalaya; Seafood Gumbo, Chicken Gumbo, Gator Gumbo; Gator on a Stick; Etouffee (dark or light roux); Boudin and Andouille Sausage; Hush Puppies; Corn on the Cob; Breaded and deep fried Cat fish; Cornbread; Greens; Beignets; Sweet Potato Pie; Cobbler; Pecan Pie; Pralines; Bread Pudding and more…
Cooking Demos

If you want to learn how to take some Cajun flavor home with you, on Saturday and Sunday, stop by the Taste of Louisiana Food Demo Tent. Guest chefs Jack Gambrell, and Chef and Professor Michael Fitzgerald and students of San Diego Mesa College Culinary Arts Department will be doing cooking demos and providing professional instruction in preparing favorite Southern specialties … with samples.


Of course, your time in San Diego will only be enhanced by the perfect vacation rental. Whether you want to be close to the action or away from it all, we have properties all around the area to suit your needs. And don’t forget to check out our free area guide to help you plan your trip!