Drawing inspiration from a social media trend, this Saturday’s 225Fest is an effort to bring together all of the wonderful things Baton Rouge has to offer. Festival founder Myra Richardson told us all about how the event came to be and what to expect in its first year.
Visit Baton Rouge: We’re so excited about this inaugural festival! Can you tell us about what sparked the idea?
Myra Richardson: 225Fest started from a social media phenomenon that had been going on, around the country. People use their area codes as a calling card on a specific day that correlates with the area code for their community—#504Day for New Orleans #318Day for North Louisiana etc. If there's a date that correlates with your area code, you use that day to celebrate on social media. This phenomenon has been going on for years, but during the pandemic, I noticed that people couldn't celebrate or be together. So they used social media and their city’s specific hashtag to showcase the things they loved about their community—whether it was the food, the people, the music, or even significant events in the city that occurred. That inspired me to manifest something more tangible from the #225Day hashtag and bring it to reality.
VBR: What is 225 Fest? What can people expect from this event?
MR: 225Fest will be a street festival that's just down North Fourth Street, and that leads directly up to the State Capitol. I'm really excited because of the street festival component that brings together so many different people. There will be an art walk, health fair, millennial day party, children's center, and even a selfie station. We have almost 100 food trucks, vendors and nonprofit partners who will be in attendance on the event day. You will be able to get a full taste of Baton Rouge and be able to tour the Capitol Park Museum, which shows iconic places, not just in Baton Rouge but throughout Louisiana. I wanted to be intentional about including a lot of young professionals. I think a lot of times when we have stuff moving in the city, there's a lack of intergenerational collaboration, but I wanted to uplift the work of young, up-and-coming professionals – the artists, the creatives, the entrepreneurs – doing this work.
VBR: Can you tell us more about the partnership with the Capitol Park Museum?
MR: I serve on the board of the Friends of the Capitol Park Museum, so one of the things that I wanted to do was be able to uplift what they're doing in the community. On the day of the event, people will be able to tour the museum at a special rate of $5. Capitol Park Museum will lead our children's center, located inside the museum while the festival is happening. I wanted that to be an opportunity for people to tour the museum and really get an accurate representation of our community and connect to historic and cultural components as well as educational resources.
VBR: This event is happening just after Mardi Gras comes to a close. Are you looking forward to keeping the fun going this time of year?
MR: Yes, we want to keep the good times rolling! This festival is a great way for us to celebrate the city of Baton Rouge as a city that people love–that they live, work and play in. The event will be something that people can look forward to every year, that happens in our own backyard. I think Baton Rouge is entering a renaissance period where we’re seeing so much development and proving ourselves as a creative epicenter in the South that has amazing things to offer. That’s what 225Fest is all about.
VBR: The 50th anniversary of hip-hop is this year—something the music community as a whole is coming together to celebrate. What does it mean to have a festival that’s a part of celebrating this major milestone?
MR: We’re inviting a lot of the local artists, producers, A&Rs, club promoters, and the people who move the music industry in south Louisiana. We're also super excited about our DJ—DJ Atwice. He's been doing a lot on the cultural development side in the greater Baton Rouge area, so I'm excited to hear all genres of music. There’s going to be something that really speaks to every audience and every age group because we want to create the most inclusive experience possible.
VBR: What should locals and visitors alike know about 225 Fest??
MR: This festival is for anybody who is a lover of the South, Mardi Gras season, crawfish, and anybody who just wants to have a good time. This will be a very inviting and welcoming experience for them and a celebration of our greatest assets—the people that power our community. So if you love Louisiana, the Capital region, or if you ever wanted to just explore what we're all about, this will be a great day to see a little taste of Baton Rouge.
VBR: Is there anything that we didn't ask about that you want people to know?
MR: This event is open to everyone from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is something you don't want to miss. We encourage everyone to RSVP online, this will help with future communications, planning for the proper safety, and accounting for how much product we need. If people want to learn more about 225 Fest, I would encourage them to visit our website at www.225fest.com, and check out our social channels for content playlists, food spotlighting, and features of local people in Baton Rouge.