French Quarter Festival kicks off in gorgeous weather

French Quarter Festival kicks off in gorgeous weather

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The fun has begun at the 33rd annual French Quarter Festival. The music kicked off Thursday morning around 11 a.m. with the opening parade about an hour earlier.

Thousands of people are enjoying the gorgeous weather and the party is just getting started.

The event has grown tremendously since the 1980s. This year, organizers promise over 300 hours of entertainment with more than 400 musical performances on 23 stages.

Big names, like Kermit Ruffin, Deacon John, John Boutte, Ellis Marsalis, Cowboy Mouth and more will perform in front of an estimated 700,000 people over the next four days.

This festival is one of the largest showcases of Louisiana food and music in the country.

Tonight, some local politicians, like Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser will be at the sold out opening night gala that takes place at Antoine's restaurant at 8 p.m.

"Today is locals' day, so for me especially, I love Thursday because we really embrace the locals," said Marci Schramm, director of the French Quarter Festival.

The festival ends Sunday at 7 p.m.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.