One thing that Americans take very seriously is their food. Drawing from the influence of the many cultures that populate the nation, you can find some of the best cuisine in the world in even the smallest towns throughout the United States. From the hearty comfort food of the south, to the traditional Mexican food found along the border, and the Middle Eastern dishes served on carts throughout the eastern states you are in good company if you love to eat.
For those who really want a culinary experience, they can check out some of the many festivals all about food across the country. Here are ten excellent food festivals happening this Fall.
Come join others in the area for a sample of more than 90 restaurants who are bringing their local wares to the streets. Attend four live cooking stages to watch the experts to their thing. Enjoy a VIP cocktail, beer and wine bar, or hang out in the family dining section where foods that are kid and adult friendly alike will be served in unique incarnations. You can even take a cooking workshop that will give you a hands on kitchen experience and teach you how to make some all new dishes with a twist.
Where and When: Atlanta, Georgia; October 25 – 27, 2013
Apple orchards are a major feature of much of America, where the fruit grows plentiful in many different states. In Pennsylvania they are especially suited to the climate, and every year millions of apples come from their fields. You can join the 49th annual event celebrating this delicious piece of produce on two different dates. Walk through the streets enjoying the entertainment like live music, clowns and even a barbershop quartet that will be performing there. Take the kids to a petting zoo or check out a non-denominational worship service open to all. See the Hanover Children’s Ballet perform, or attend a pie auction. It is a simple event with a lot to do..
Where and When: Arendtsville, Pennsylvania; October 5 – 6, 2013 and October 12 – 13, 2013
If there is one thing Maine is well known for, it is their seafood. What better way to sample it than from some of the best chefs in the state? Try their many samplings at their grand tasting. Find out who will win Main’s Lobster Chef of the Year award. Try international dishes using local seafood and shellfish. Attend a wine or beer tasting, or both. Listen to some incredible blues music over drinks. This is a very grown up festival, so not great for families with young children.
Where and When: Portland, Maine; October 23 – 26, 2013
Celebrate the best Italy and Greece has to offer from locals of such heritage right there on Virginia Beach. There will be great food, great wine and beer, singing, dancing, live shows, cultural performances and even grape stomping. They are also hosting a contest to win a cruise for two, so be sure to enter your name for a chance to win.
Where and When: Virginia Beach, Virginia; September 13 – 15, 2013
Love shrimp? You aren’t alone, and this national festival is proof of that. People from all over the world attend this event at one of the biggest shrimp catching areas in the country. Enjoy the splendor of the Gulf Coast as you eat every type of the sea creature you can think of. Enjoy the musical performances of the many bands, like Everclear. Take your kids to some great activities, and submit your application to be in their American Idol style singing competition.
Where and When: Gulf Shores, Alabama; October 10 – 13, 2013
Beer lovers don’t have to go all the way to Germany to enjoy Oktoberfest. Columbus has their own version, and it has been going strong for 48 years now. Come and sample beers from all over the world. Eat some of the best vendors in the state, including authentic German foods. Take place in the stone toss, cream puff eating contest and more. Listen to live music or participate in their 5k race. There is even an area for kids.
Where and When: Columbus, Ohio; September 27 – 29, 2013
Oysters are a traditional food that has a well established link to American cuisine. They were so popular that in the late 1800’s there was a “war” surrounding their gathering between large fishing companies and small shore catchers. While their numbers have decreased over the years, once a year this event is hosted to give people the chance to discover their wonderful flavor and nutritional benefits. Attend a cooking demo, participate in a shucking contest, enjoy an arts and crafts fair, run their 5k, play a game of tennis, and try oysters from some of the best vendors in town.
Some like them hot, some like them mild, but we can all appreciate a good chile. Add that to a glass of wine and there is a lot of enjoy at this small festival filled with cooking demos from some of the greatest chefs in Santa Fe. Try their wine demos as well, and learn what wine goes with what food, taste different brands and even attend a luncheon.
Where and When: Santa Fe, New Mexico; September 25 – 29, 2013
Bourbon is a Kentucky institution. You can celebrate the drink with some of the best brands on the market, along with great southern comfort food and events. Learn barrel making, learn how to pair bourbon properly with food based on taste in a seminar with Peggy Noe Stevens, check out a hot air balloon show and a lot more.
Where and When: Bardstown, Kentucky; September 17-22, 2013
Every year Miller Lite hosts an annual chili and BBQ cook off that will knock your socks off. There will be hundreds of stalls for you to sample food, vendors to purchase more and live music and entertainment. Bands include The Geeks, Revival, Wholigans and 7 Bridges.
Where and When: Atlanta, Georgia; October 5, 2013
Fancy a taste of Miami and its surrounding Caribbean influence? The 2014 South Beach Food and Wine Festival is just the place for you! Sponsored by the Food Network, attended by celebrities, and expected to draw more than 60,000 attendees to more than 50 events, this festival will give you the opportunity to experience the myriad food and drink that south Florida’s unique culture has to offer, all while helping to raise money for the Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Restaurant and the Southern Wine and Spirits Beverage Management Center.
When and Where: Miami, Florida; though the event itself will be happening in February 20-23, 2014, presale begins this October. For more interesting events in Miami, check the event calendar provided by Miamihotels.org.
Have a food festival to add to the list? Let us know in the comments. Check out this cool list of events too!