Runners flock to annual New Orleans running of the bulls - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Runners flock to annual New Orleans running of the bulls

Thousands got a chance to run with bulls, all without leaving New Orleans. The 8th annual San Fermin in New Orleans Festival was this weekend, and organizers say more visitors than ever are taken part.

"This has got to be one of the best-kept secrets in New Orleans," said runner Richard Reiser from Kenner. After watching the celebration last year, Reiser finally decided to join in the run this year. "This is a riot!"

Tens of thousands laced for the run Saturday morning. It's the most popular part of the three-day festival that pays homage to the famously dangerous "running with the bulls" in Pamplon, Spain. Instead of bulls, roller derby girls with plastic bats and horned helmets chase after runners. Those who can't move fast enough - get a smack on their rear.

"If we based the numbers on the estimates last year, which were about 18,000, we think it could get to that," said Mickey Hanning, one of the festival's founder. "Maybe 20,000 depending on everyone gets out of bed today."

Among those numbers is Monica Tamporello, another first-time runner.

"There's going to be a lot of adrenaline," said Tamporello. "I'm going to be nervous."

The event has become a tradition, that brings in visitors looking for a taste of Spain that's closer to home and slightly safer.

"Just the togetherness of the city," said Chelsea Abate who moved from Philadelphia five years ago. "You can't do this any place else."

Money raised by the event goes to the Animal Rescue of New Orleans and the local chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Louisiana.

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