If you’re going to participate in a fun run or a fitness challenge in the morning, what better way to finish off the day than by listening to some great New Orleans music while noshing on as much king cake as you’d like?
You’ll have that opportunity when the third annual King Cake Festival is held Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in and around Champions Square at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The free event, which attracted more than 15,000 people last year, will benefit the Family Assistance Fund at Ochsner Hospital for Children. Proceeds will come via the purchase of king cake “tasting tickets,” as well as entry fees into the Smoothie King Gladiator Games earlier in the day.
Twenty-seven bakeries will offer their finest king cake wares for sampling, said Kathleen McCulla, Ochsner’s director of special events. Books of 10 tasting tickets will be sold for $10 each, and each ticket gets fest patrons a 2-ounce serving of whichever cakes they’d like to sample. Celebrity judges will decide “best of” awards in several categories, and attendees get to choose the people’s choice award winner.
Asked how much king cake a person should eat, McCulla refused to bite. “All things in balance,” she said. That’s whether or not the person participates in the 1-mile Family Fun Run (at 9 a.m.) or the Gladiator Games (9:30 a.m.). “We all appreciate fun food, but do things sensibly. Really, what we’re offering is a fun, family event where people of all ages can enjoy what Carnival is all about.”
The Gladiator Games are taking on an expanded presence at the King Cake Festival, thanks to Smoothie King, McCulla said. Participants (more than 500 are expected) will complete a 2.5-mile loop almost entirely on the Superdome deck level. At six workout stations, they will do everything from 180-degree jump squats, V-ups, lunges, plank up-downs, burpees and incline rows.
The timed race will have eight ramps and 300 stairs on the course.
Awards will be presented at 10:30 a.m., and participants get early entry to the King Cake Festival.
“A lot of our committee members are active and into CrossFit, so they brought some stations in last year,” McCulla said. “It was such a success. People loved it.”
Also available: Smoothie King samples for all, as well as savory food options for purchase from vendors and food trucks.
Once the festival opens to the public, the music will be jamming. Old Sole will play at 11:15 a.m. Amanda Decourbier will follow at 12:30 p.m. The Bucktown Allstars take the stage at 1:45 p.m., and Flow Tribe will close out things starting at 3:30 p.m.
The King Cake Festival awards will be presented at 4:30 p.m.
Gladiator Games preregistration can be completed online through 5 p.m. Thursday by going to www.kingcakefestival.org. Cost is $15 for children 12 and younger or $30 for adults. Cost is $20/$35 on the day of the event. The overall man and woman, as well as top boy and girl in the Gladiator Games, will win a year of Smoothie King smoothies.
Tasting ticket packages also can be prepurchased online. For information, go to www.kingcakefestival.org.