It’s no secret that Americans like good food and while there are a few all-American classics, the food across this great nation is largely diverse. Asian, European, South American… no part of the globe stands unrepresented and no dish goes untouched in the land where food is celebrated at every opportunity. There are so many ways to enjoy the diverse cuisine of America but one of the best ways is to visit one of these great food festivals. Festivals offer you a chance to sample small bites from big places and try a lot more than you probably could than just visiting a restaurant for a full meal, so read on, take your pick and plan to visit these amazing food festivals soon.
12. Taste of Buffalo Festival
While you may be surprised to find the Taste of Buffalo on this list, you may also be surprised to know this festival is actually the largest 2-day food festival in the whole country. People from all over western New York and beyond flock to the streets of downtown Buffalo to sample more than 200 culinary specialties and beverages. With all items priced between $1-4, you can bring the whole family and afford to sample till your heart’s content. Just be prepared to deal with some crowds at this festival as it currently attracts almost 450,000 patrons annually.
11. Maine Lobster Festival
When you think of east coast specialties, Maine lobster is probably one of the first things to come to mind and it’s being celebrated in every way thinkable at the annual Maine Lobster Festival which takes place at the end of July. The festival runs for 5 days and features a carnival, arts and crafts vendors, art show, a parade, live entertainment and of course lobster! Over 20,000 pounds of these crustaceans are served up during the festival so if you’re a lobster lover this is the festival for you!
10. Vermont Cheesemakers Festival
The annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival heads into its 7th year in 2015 and celebrates one of the country’s best cheesemaking regions. The one day festival takes place in July and highlights the award winning cheeses, wines and artisan foods of the area. There’s cheese themed workshops, cooking demonstrations by local chefs and of course lots of cheese to be sampled. Children under 3 get in free and regular priced adult admission is $50 but this gives you access to the workshops, cheesemaking and cooking demos and of course lots of samples!
9. Savannah Food and Wine Festival
The Savannah Food and Wine Festival is one of the newest and hottest food festivals in the country. 2014 marks the return of this celebration of the south after much success after their inaugural festival last year. Taking place in the fall, the festival runs for 1 week and features events of all kinds including cooking classes, farm to table dinners, celebrity chef tour, wine tastings, riverboat dinner cruise, and of course the main event: Taste of Savannah. Taking place on the Saturday, the streets are closed as patrons sip and sample some of the best the city has to offer.
8. The Taste: Los Angeles
Presented by Los Angeles Times and Citi, The Taste is a weekend food festival highlighting the best of west coast cuisine. Featuring several events including opening night gala, field to fork, Sunday brunch and flavors of LA, The Taste provides supporters with a local food experience that’s authentically LA. Sample the best from local restaurateurs all looking to boost their restaurant street cred in a city where culinary competition is fierce and innovation is key. The Taste happens annually on labor day weekend.
7. Austin Food and Wine Festival
Austin’s culinary scene has been steadily growing over the years and the Austin Food and Wine Festival proves this city deserves a spot right up with the culinary giants like New York and South Beach. The weekend festival takes place in the spring and includes some notable celebrity chef faces. There are events happening the entire weekend including cooking demos, chef showcases and feast under the stars. The grand tasting event is where you’ll get to try the best bites from the Austin culinary scene.
6. Taste of Chicago
Since 1980, Chicago’s lakefront Grant Park has been closing to play host to this 5 day food extravaganza celebrating everything that makes Chicago cuisine so unique. This festival has something for everyone and is perfect for families with the kids zone and live music featuring notable performers each year. Of course there’s also the food…and it comes in the form of food trucks, 5 day festival restaurants and pop-up restaurants; keep an eye out for these short opportunity shops because they’re only around for a day or two!
5. New Orleans Food and Wine Experience
It’s safe to say the people of New Orleans enjoy good food and drink…in fact they’re downright passionate about it! From beignets to po’ boys, The New Orleans Food and Wine Experience showcases the best of the Big Easy. Not only is food celebrated at this event but this festival goes above and beyond to incorporate another Louisiana passion into the agenda; live music! With hundreds of wineries and restaurants participating each year, it’s easy to see why the festival is currently in its 22nd year.
4. Taste of Vail
Rated among the best food and wine festivals by many media publications, we agree that Taste of Vail is an experience like no other, and should be high on any traveling foodies list. Each April, Vail Colorado hosts this 4 day culinary celebration highlighting the unique Vail lifestyle and renowned Colorado cuisine. While it may not be the biggest food festival in the country, each of the 30+ participating restaurants places a focus on quality ingredients with local flair.
3. NYC Food and Wine Festival
The New York City Food and Wine Festival presented by The Food Network and Food and Wine is a party with a purpose. 100% of the net proceeds from the 4-day fall festival go towards Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign and the NYC Food Bank. With over $7 million raised in its six short years it’s clear to see this city supports both food and wine as well as community support. At this event you’ll find lots of recognizable Food Network celebrities but event tickets aren’t cheap so save up before visiting this one.
2. South Beach Food and Wine Festival
Also presented by The Food Network and Food and Wine, The South Beach Food and Wine Festival (or SOBEWFF as it’s known) has been delighting diners in Florida for over 13 years. The event began as a 1-day festival at the Florida International University campus and was moved to South Beach in 2002 and as they say; the rest is history. South Beach is widely known as the premier celebration of celebrity chefs, exceptional wines and south coast dining. If you’re looking for a great food experience in a beautiful setting SOBEWFF is your spot.
1. Aspen Food and Wine Classic
Celebrating its 32nd year, the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen is like the pro-bowl of America’s culinary scene. It’s a star studded affair with big name chefs like Tyler Florence, Giada De Laurentiis, Marcus Samuelsson and many more. The Classic allows chefs to demo their best new recipes, wineries to pour their finest drops, and attendees to enjoy all the best of these culinary geniuses…all surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the mountains.