More than 7,000 food festivals are held annually in the United States, with many events themed around regional specialties such as seafood, barbecue, or tacos. Top food and wine festivals feature panels, demonstrations, and seminars by leading industry professionals such as Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, and Wolfgang Puck, while local cook-off competitions highlight the unique creations of amateur chefs. Many weekend or weeklong festivals offer live entertainment from top recording artists as well as activities for young visitors, including kids’ zones and children’s cooking events.
1.Greenwich Wine and Food Festival
© Courtesy of Volodymyr Shcerbak - Fotolia.com
The Greenwich Wine and Food Festival is the flagship event of Unger Media, which also hosts the region’s annual Serendipity Golf Classic and Serendipity Fun Run events. The festival is presented by PepsiCo and benefits charitable organizations such as the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Two days of event activities are offered, including a Master Chef Wine Dinner opening night event hosted by a major international food industry celebrity. A full day of festivities is offered during the event’s second day at its Culinary Village, including a Grand Tasting tent showcasing more than 150 area food and wine experts. Sommelier, brewmaster, and mixologist demonstrations are presented, along with celebrity book signings, culinary expert question and answer sessions, and a Burger Battle and Top Bartender Showdown.
100 Arch St, Greenwich, CT 06830, Phone: 203-622-7814
2.Taste of DC
© Courtesy of slonme - Fotolia.com
Taste of DC is the largest culinary festival hosted annually in the mid-Atlantic region, offering a weekend full of food-related festivities since 1989. More than 65 of the DC region’s top restaurants are showcased throughout the event, which also features the area’s largest beer garden. Three stages offer live music performances and culinary seminars and demonstrations, and an artisan market showcases the works of local artists and crafters. A Taste After Dark event also offers a sneak peek at vendors and food offerings in an intimate evening setting. Four ticket package tiers offer general, early, and VIP admission, and all food sales are operated through a cashless RFID TasteBand ticketing program.
Washington, DC, Phone: 202-618-3663
3.A Taste of Colorado
© Courtesy of arinahabich - Fotolia.com
A Taste of Colorado was originally established in 1895 as the Festival of Mountain and Plain, a Mardi Gras-style carnival aiming to boost Denver’s morale following the silver panic. Though the original festival folded in 1902, the Downtown Denver Partnership reinvigorated the idea in 1983, bringing a Labor Day weekend food and music festival back to the city’s downtown Civic Center Park. Today, the festival offers a main stage showcasing more than 25 national and regional musicians and attracts more than 500,000 annual attendees. It is the region’s largest free-admission food festival, offering tasting options from more than 50 regional restaurants and food trucks. A KidZone is also offered, along with an arts and crafts marketplace showcasing the work of more than 175 vendors.
1515 Arapahoe St., Tower 3, Ste. 100, Denver, CO 80202, Phone: 720-650-6674
4.Arizona Taco Festival
© Courtesy of Alexandr Vorobev - Fotolia.com
The Arizona Taco Festival offers general admission and VIP tickets to sample tacos and Mexican dishes from more than 50 area restaurants. The event takes place in mid-October at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona. Beverage stations throughout the event also freely serve margaritas, beer, soft drinks, and water, and you will also find premium bars operated by local bars and breweries. All food and beverages are purchased using event tokens. Event highlights include a Lucha Libre Wrestling competition, a live music stage, taco and hot chile pepper eating contests, and a chihuahua beauty pageant. A Tequila Expo and Margarita Mixology event are also showcased, along with a Kid’s Zone featuring a bungee trampoline, bounce houses, and a mechanical bull.
7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85258, Phone: 480-270-5000
5.Aspen Food & Wine Classic
© Courtesy of fotofrol - Fotolia.com
The Aspen Food and Wine Classic is the United States’ premier food and wine festival, offering three days of wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and panel discussions from top national and international chefs for 5,000 ticket holders ages 21 and older. The event is presented by Food and Wine magazine and has been dubbed the “Food Olympics” by Denver magazine. Since its inception in 1983, the event has hosted internationally-renowned food industry luminaries such as Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, and Tyler Florence. Annual programming includes a Restaurant Trade Program offering seminars and networking opportunities, a Grand Tasting Pavilion showcasing more than 300 vendors, and exclusive happy hour events for industry members.
69 Aspen St, Floral Park, NY 11001, Phone: 970-429-9581
6.Big Sur Food & Wine Festival
© Courtesy of meailleluc.com - Fotolia.com
The Big Sur Food and Wine Festival offers special dinners and tasting events at venues throughout the Big Sur area, including several walking with wine excursions to area historic properties and natural attractions. A nonprofit organization hosts the four-day event, and they donate all event proceeds to local charities supporting the arts, health, public safety, and education, including wildfire relief funds. A walkabout marketplace is held at Loma Vista Gardens, showcasing dozens of local artisans and live entertainers. Other major events include a public auction, a winemakers’ panel, a sommelier dinner, and a jazz night continuing in the tradition of the former Big Sur Jazz Festival.
P.O. Box 487, Big Sur, CA 93920, Phone: 831-596-8105
7.Maine Lobster Festival
© Courtesy of Chee-Onn Leong - Fotolia.com
The Maine Lobster Festival is a five-day event held during the heart of Maine lobster season within the coastal town of Rockland. Daily lobster dinners are served, and unique lobster delicacies such as lobster macaroni and cheese, wontons, and stuffed risotto balls are available for sale. A number of family-friendly activities and ceremonies are showcased throughout the event, including the annual coronation of the Maine Sea Goddess on opening night. Other highlights include an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, a seafood cooking contest, a lobster eating contest, and a 10K road race. A carnival ride section is offered for young visitors, along with a one-mile kids’ fun run, a children’s codfish carry, and a family activity zone.
1 Pleasant St, Rockland, ME 04841, Phone: 800-576-7512
8.Bounty of Yamhill County
© Courtesy of naito8 - Fotolia.com
Bounty of Yamhill County has been voted as one of the top 10 food festivals in the United States by USA Today and The Culture Trip. The three-day festival offers exclusive limited ticketing for participants ages 21 and older, with all event proceeds benefiting the Yamhill Enrichment Society. Chefs, farms, and vintners from around Oregon’s Wine Country region are highlighted, with many offering one-of-a-kind dishes created for the event. Event highlights include winemaking and food pairing classes, demonstration and discussion events, Chill and Grill alfresco evenings, and a Big Night signature event that pairs local chefs and farmers for a unique walkaround feast.
638 NE Fifth Street, McMinnville, OR 97128, Phone: 503-883-9654
9.Eat Drink SF
© Courtesy of fedorovacz - Fotolia.com
Eat Drink SF is held the final weekend in August and is the San Francisco region’s premiere annual food and wine festival, showcasing top Bay area chefs, restaurants, and winemakers. The four-day event attracts an annual attendance of more than 8,500 people and offers a wide variety of activities, including four Grand Tasting sessions held at Fort Mason. More than 35 restaurants are showcased at each Grand Tasting event, with unlimited beer, wine, and cocktail pours available from more than 70 local beverage purveyors. The event’s San Francisco Wine School Beverage Classroom offers wine education courses, while the main stage features demonstrations by top industry chefs and personalities. Other events include a Taco Knockdown launch party, where guests can vote on unique taco creations by competing area chefs.
Landmark Building C, 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123, Phone: 415-781-5348
10.Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
© Courtesy of arazu - Fotolia.com
The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is held at Orlando, Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort throughout the autumn season, with events typically beginning in late August and ending in mid-November. Festival admission is included with Epcot park admission, though guests must purchase their own food and drink at the festival. International marketplace food vendors are there showcasing traditional food and beverages of countries highlighted within Epcot. A number of visitor activities are offered on select days throughout the event, including book signings, demonstrations, and special festival meals at the resort’s hotels. An Eat To The Beat concert series is also presented, highlighting major international recording artists such as Chaka Khan, Boyz II Men, and Jo Dee Messina.
200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821, Phone: 407-939-5277
11.Taste of Chicago
© Courtesy of Olaf Heidtke - Fotolia.com
The Taste of Chicago is the largest food festival in the world and the city of Chicago’s largest annual event, offering five days of food-related festivities every July since 1980. More than three million visitors attend the festival each year, which offers local favorites such as Chicago-style hot dogs and pizza, Maxwell Street Polish sausage, and Eli’s Cheesecake. More than three dozen restaurants are highlighted, along with 15 pop-up restaurants serving food for a single day of the festival. The festival also offers a section of carnival rides and live music performances at several stages by top national and international artists such as Carlos Santana, Moby, and Robert Plant.
121 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602, Phone: 312-744-5000
12.Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival
© Courtesy of PavelPrichystal - Fotolia.com
The Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival is a four-day event showcasing the best of the city’s food and drink culture through a variety of lunch and dinner events, tastings, demonstrations, and after-parties. Single day, weekend, and VIP ticket packages are available for guests ages 21 and older, offering admission to events throughout the areas of downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Santa Monica. Top industry personalities such as Masaharu Morimoto, Tyler Florence, and Nancy Silverton are highlighted, with more than 100 celebrity chefs showcased throughout the event. Live entertainment is presented throughout the event, along with tastings of more than 250 regional and national wines.
800 W Olympic, Los Angeles, CA 90015, website, Phone: 855-433-5239
13.New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
© Courtesy of dbvirago - Fotolia.com
The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience is a five-day event held at several sites throughout the city, including Mardi Gras World and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Award-winning dishes by regional and national chefs are highlighted at several grand tasting events, which offer hundreds of food and wine samples provided by more than 75 local restaurants and wineries. The event offers single-day and all-inclusive ticket packages for visitors ages 21 and older, with proceeds benefiting local charities. Other annual activities include wine dinners at local restaurants, seminars by top industry professionals, NOWFE Experience demonstrations, and a Royal Street Stroll and VINOLA event.
501 Basin St, New Orleans, LA 70112, Phone: 504-655-5158
14.Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival
© Courtesy of Alexandr Vorobev - Fotolia.com
Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival is one of the American East Coast’s premiere food and wine festivals, offering four days of festivities celebrating regional and national chefs, wineries, and industry professionals. All proceeds benefit the Preservation Society of Newport County, and events are hosted at various historic landmarks and venues managed by the society. A number of signature events are offered throughout the festival, including two Grand Tasting events held at the historic Marble House, which offer the opportunity to sample food and wine from local and national restaurants. Other events include Bordeaux and Vintner Dinners, a Wine and Rosecliff Gala, a Jazz Brunch, and a Newport After Dark event.
424 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI 02840, Phone: 401-847-1000
© Courtesy of Chris - Fotolia.com
Oysterfest Music Festival is hosted at Golden Gate Park’s Sharon Meadow and features a wide showcase of music, food, and beverages. As one of San Francisco’s premiere annual festivals, the event brings in top national and international artists such as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Passion Pit, Michael Franti, and Grandmaster Flash. The nation’s top oyster farms serve raw, baked, barbecued, and fried oysters, with many food offerings available highlighting oysters and seafood ingredients. Annual activities include a shuck and swallow contest, an Iron Chef-inspired cookoff, and celebrity chef demos. A second partner event is also hosted annually in San Diego.
320 Bowling Dr., Sharon Meadow, San Francisco, CA 94118, Phone: 415-989-6222
© Courtesy of ratmaner - Fotolia.com
PicklesBURGH is Pittsburgh’s premiere food festival, offering three days of food and entertainment. The festival, which is held on the Roberto Clemente Bridge, showcases a 35-foot custom-created Heinz pickle balloon designed by Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon architects. Pickle-themed dishes by dozens of local restaurants are offered, including artisan cocktails highlighting pickled ingredients. Dish creations offered in past years include peanut butter pickle cookies, potato and pickle pierogies, and dill pickle flavored Italian ice. The three-day festival also features a marketplace area with a farmer’s market, children’s zone, and petting zoo, and it highlights presentations such as canning and pickling demonstrations.
Roberto Clemente Bridge, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, Phone: 412-566-4190
17.Pismo Beach Clam Festival
© Courtesy of FPWing - Fotolia.com
The Pismo Beach Clam Festival is one of the Pismo Beach region’s largest annual events, attracting more than 15,000 annual visitors during its three-day run. Admission to the festival is free, with tickets sold separately for premium activities. A wide variety of food trucks and vendors are offered daily at the festival, along with a beer and wine stage offering tastings by local breweries and wineries. There is also a kids’ zone, along with daily musical performances by regional and national artists. Premium events include a clam chowder contest, a wine walk, a surf showdown, a clam bake, and a clam dig.
581 Dolliver St. Pismo Beach, CA 93449, Phone: 805-773-7034
18.Saké Fest PDX
© Courtesy of L.tom - Fotolia.com
Saké Fest PDX is the only event of its kind held in the Pacific Northwest, showcasing tastings of the United States and Japan’s finest saké brands. More than 100 saké varieties are showcased, along with food and beverages from popular Portland restaurants and vendors such as Bamboo Sushi, Ranger Chocolate, and Burnside Brewing. Sampling stations offer tips on how to pair saké with cheeses, chocolates, and a variety of Asian and international cuisines. General and early admission tickets are available for the festival, and all guests receive a free souvenir tasting glass. Attendance is restricted to participants ages 21 and older.
777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97232, Phone: 503-235-7575
19.San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival
© Courtesy of kasto - Fotolia.com
The San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival is the West Coast’s largest wine and culinary classic event and serves as one of San Diego’s premiere annual festivals. The weeklong festival offers a wide variety of visitor activities, including cooking courses presented by James Beard Award-winning chefs and a Grand Tasting event showcasing food and beverages from more than 60 local chefs, restaurants, and wineries. Other annual events include wine tasting seminars, intimate custom-crafted luncheons, and celebrity chef dinner events. Single-day and inclusive ticket packages are available, including a Grand Tasting VIP Experience package that offers early admission, access to VIP tents and shaded seating areas, and premium views of live entertainment.
1399 Cuyamaca St, El Cajon, CA 92020, Phone: 858-578-9463
20.Savor Borgata: The Ultimate Food Experience
© Courtesy of Arundhati - Fotolia.com
Savor Borgata: The Ultimate Food Experience is held annually at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa and is host to a star-studded list of top international chefs, including Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, Geoffrey Zakarian, and Michael Symon. The Ultimate Food Experience is open to visitors ages 21 and older and offers a wide variety of food, wine, and beverage vendors along with meet-and-greet experiences with top industry professionals. General, early, and VIP admission tickets are available, along with hotel packages for overnight stay. A wide variety of events are also offered as part of the Savor Borgata festival, including seminars, demonstrations, and special curated dinner events.
1 Borgata Way, Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, NJ 08401, Phone: 609-317-1000
21.St. Simons Island Food + Spirits Festival
© Courtesy of Alexandr Vorobev - Fotolia.com
The St. Simons Island Food and Spirits Festival showcases the local culinary delights of St. Simons Island and the Georgia Coast region, offering three days of public events and premium activities. The event’s highlight is its Tastings Under the Oaks, which is hosted at the island’s Gascoigne Bluff and features a tasting tent showcasing local chefs and restaurants, along with an artisan marketplace and a children’s activity zone. Live demonstrations include a Food Network-style competition between local chefs featuring a celebrity judging panel. Other event highlights include a SPIRITual Sunday brunch and a barbecue competition pitting professional golfers against experienced pitmasters.
60 Cinema Lane, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522, Phone: 843-422-3305
22.The Santa Cruz Chili Cook Off
© Courtesy of annapustynnikova - Fotolia.com
The Santa Cruz Chili Cook Off brings amateur and professional chili chefs from around the greater San Francisco Bay region to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for an annual chili cooking competition. The event, founded in 2010, offers free admission to visitors of all ages, with chili tasting kits available for purchase. Visitors are able to sample up to five chili concoctions per kit. Four competition categories honor the best professional and amateur chefs cooking traditional meat and vegetarian red chili dishes. A People’s Choice award is also presented annually, along with awards for the most tasted dish and the most original chili booth.
400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Phone: 831-423-5590
23.Windy City Smokeout
© Courtesy of Olga Soloveva - Fotolia.com
The Windy City Smokeout is a three-day event that attracts more than 40,000 annual visitors for a unique event showcasing the works of pitmasters from around the United States. Unlike many competition-based grilling events, the event allows pitmasters to present fresh-smoked meats in a highly participatory setting focused on the dining and entertainment experience. In addition to brisket, pulled pork, and other meat vendors, a variety of dishes from local restaurants such as Wow Bao, Aloha Poke Company, and the Budlong are available, along with beverages from more than two dozen national craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries. A diverse lineup of country music artists also perform on two stages throughout the event.
560 W Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60654, Phone: 888-512-7469
25 Best Food and Wine Festivals
- Greenwich Wine and Food Festival, Photo: Courtesy of Volodymyr Shcerbak - Fotolia.com
- Taste of DC, Photo: Courtesy of slonme - Fotolia.com
- A Taste of Colorado, Photo: Courtesy of arinahabich - Fotolia.com
- Arizona Taco Festival, Photo: Courtesy of Alexandr Vorobev - Fotolia.com
- Aspen Food & Wine Classic, Photo: Courtesy of fotofrol - Fotolia.com
- Big Sur Food & Wine Festival, Photo: Courtesy of meailleluc.com - Fotolia.com
- Maine Lobster Festival, Photo: Courtesy of Chee-Onn Leong - Fotolia.com
- Bounty of Yamhill County, Photo: Courtesy of naito8 - Fotolia.com
- Eat Drink SF, Photo: Courtesy of fedorovacz - Fotolia.com
- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Photo: Courtesy of arazu - Fotolia.com
- Taste of Chicago, Photo: Courtesy of Olaf Heidtke - Fotolia.com
- Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, Photo: Courtesy of PavelPrichystal - Fotolia.com
- New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, Photo: Courtesy of dbvirago - Fotolia.com
- Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, Photo: Courtesy of Alexandr Vorobev - Fotolia.com
- Oysterfest, Photo: Courtesy of Chris - Fotolia.com
- PicklesBURGH, Photo: Courtesy of ratmaner - Fotolia.com
- Pismo Beach Clam Festival, Photo: Courtesy of FPWing - Fotolia.com
- Saké Fest PDX, Photo: Courtesy of L.tom - Fotolia.com
- San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, Photo: Courtesy of kasto - Fotolia.com
- Savor Borgata: The Ultimate Food Experience, Photo: Courtesy of Arundhati - Fotolia.com
- St. Simons Island Food + Spirits Festival, Photo: Courtesy of Alexandr Vorobev - Fotolia.com
- The Santa Cruz Chili Cook Off, Photo: Courtesy of annapustynnikova - Fotolia.com
- Windy City Smokeout, Photo: Courtesy of Olga Soloveva - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Olesya Shelomova - Fotolia.com