Reasons to Attend the 2023 Running of the Bulls in New Orleans


Every year plastic horn-adorned roller derby skaters race through the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter. To an outsider, this may seem alarming, but to the locals, it is an opportunity to indulge in alcohol, celebrate Spain, and make eccentric costumes. Inspired by Spain’s infamous Encierro de Pamplona, New Orleans’ Running of the Bulls puts a fun southern twist on the traditional San Fermin Festival.

From Spain’s Encierro de Pamplona to New Orleans’ Running of the Bulls

New Orleans hosts its Running of the Bulls each year, inspired by Spain’s Encierro de Pamplona during the San Fermin Festival. Traditionally, brave participants, called mozos, run from six furious bulls throughout the streets of Pamplona to honor Saint Fermin. The patron saint was supposedly dragged through the streets while angry bulls ran after him.

In New Orleans, participants drink cocktails and run away from beings as fierce as bulls: The Big Easy Rollergirls. The RollerBulls adorn themselves in plastic horns and threaten slow runners with plastic bats, all in good fun. Some runners consider it honorable to be caught by a RollerBull. Regardless, anyone who plans to run from the skaters must wear white and tie a red scarf around their neck or waist.

Running of the Bulls started in 2007 when, after visiting Pamplona, local Mickey Hanning brought the tradition home. The first year just 14 roller derby members chased 200 participants through the streets of the French Quarter during the San Fermin festival. Now over 400 RollerBulls and 14,000 runners take part in the annual tradition.

Each year, San Fermin in New Orleans takes place over three days. The organizers schedule various parties, events, and live music performances throughout the weekend. This year, the festival will occur from Friday, July 14, to Sunday, July 16.

Kick off San Fermin in New Orleans at El Txupinazo on Friday

The annual El Txupinazo, a charity kickoff event, will start the weekend of San Fermin in New Orleans. Before the festivities begin on Friday evening, guests can help raise money for Beth’s Friends Forever, a nonprofit that aids local women battling cancer.

Run from the RollerBulls on Saturday

At dusk on Saturday, the RollerBulls and runners gather to prepare for the Running of the Bulls. The RollerBulls will begin their torment at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 15. Runners can gather at the Sugar Mill to indulge in drinks, food trucks, and live music before the Running of the Bulls begins.

Once runners recover from the morning’s festivities, they can attend the La Fiesta de Pantalones after-party. Otherwise, participants can bar-hop in the Warehouse District throughout the day.

Celebrate El Pobre de Mi on Sunday

On Sunday, El Pobre de Mi commemorates the Sun Also Rises, the literary masterpiece that made San Fermin Festival famous in the United States. El Pobre de Mi is an Ernest Hemingway-themed party to end the San Fermin Festival weekend. Attendees can listen to local authors read excerpts from Hemingway’s work and participate in the Papa Hemingway look-a-like contest.

Have a Staycation at the Jung Hotel & Residences

The best way to enjoy New Orleans is by staying at a hotel in the middle of it all. The Jung Hotel & Residences is ideally situated near the Canal Streetcar line, allowing easy accessibility. Make a reservation at the Jung Hotel today and experience adventure, fun, and leisure.