Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Pensacola’s 2023 Foo Foo Festival offers those looking for a fall getaway an “Artful Way to Beach,” with a variety of exclusive and creative happenings, events, and moments across 12 days in the Gulf South’s premier beach destination.
“For a lot of New Orleans couples and families, Pensacola is their beach vacation, and for a lot of us, New Orleans is our arts and culture vacation,” says Nicole Stacey, Vice President of Destination Development at Visit Pensacola. “This fall, we want to be for New Orleans what it often is for us.”
From November 2-13, 2023, 16 nonprofit organizations will produce one-of-a-kind events and experiences, from live theater and concerts to art installations, interactive tours, and more. In addition to the 16 grant-funded events, local businesses and organizations will also offer their own unique events as “Friends of Foo” during the 12-day festival, adding to the 10-year anniversary lineup.
Largely known for its beaches, Pensacola’s best-kept secret is its vibrant historic downtown and robust arts scene. Only a three-hour drive from New Orleans, Pensacola appeals to all of the senses, from the cool feel of sand under your feet and the scent of a saltwater breeze to the taste of a refreshing cocktail complementing the sights and sounds of Foo Foo Fest’s exquisite events.
Foo Foo Fest offers something for everyone with both ticketed performances and free events. Art lovers will be transfixed by First City Arts Center’s Maritime Park installation, “Poseidon’s Garden.” The installation will feature an impressive array of mouth-blown glass orbs and spikes rising from the water as an offering from Poseidon, recognizing the area’s stewardship of its beautiful surroundings. Similarly, Friends of Downtown’s “ Magic Carpet” will amaze onlookers from the sky with its 48,000 colorful translucent rectangles stitched together over Museum Plaza in the heart of downtown.
Music lovers will be spoiled by performances in a variety of genres, from Pensacola Opera’s “Songs Down South” concert to 309 Punk Project’s “Night on the Tracks” immersive experience and Night Moves Inc’s multi-day alternative music festival outside of The Handlebar, a downtown Pensacola underground music staple.
“Our visitors can wake up to the sounds of waves at a beach resort or condo, enjoy a gorgeous day on the beach, and then get dressed up for an exciting night downtown, where they’ll see performances and installations that wouldn’t exist if not for Foo Foo Fest,” says Stacey.
With lodging and dining options that run the gamut, visitors to Pensacola can curate the extended weekend or week-long getaway of their dreams. In addition to its beachside accommodations, Pensacola offers luxury boutique lodging downtown at Lily Hall, with its self-described “delightfully peculiar rooms,” restaurant, and speakeasy, or Oyster Bay Boutique Hotel overlooking Pensacola Bay.
Exceptional fine dining and casual bites across downtown and Pensacola Beach provide the perfect sustenance to keep visitors fueled for the plethora of art experiences. Visitors may want to hit Carmen’s Lunch Bar & Tapas before visiting the events at Veterans Memorial Park or Fiesta Pensacola’s “Living Museum” walk-through experience. In the evening, they can enjoy a world-class meal at the newly revived Atlas Oyster House before heading to the theatre for PenArts’ Desperate Measures, a Wild West musical romp.
“What distinguishes Foo Foo Fest is really the variety of experiences it offers Pensacola beachgoers who also love art and music,” says Stacey. “Whether you want to pop over for the weekend or take an extended trip, it’s an incredibly inviting experience during one of the most beautiful times of the year.”
For a full listing of events and to start planning, visit FooFooFest.com.