Summer Food Festivals Worth the Trip
We asked Edible Communities publishers from coast to coast to recommend their favorites, so here’s your road map to delicious summer fun – from Hawaii to the Jersey Shore. We have a serious case of food festival envy!
Jack Tumpson, Publisher, edible Allegheny is hosting Rock N' Ramen on June 28. “The evening invites chefs from Pittsburgh’s top ramen restaurants — including Tan Izakaya, Restaurant Hana, and Soba — to serve up samples of ramen and spark conversations about the interactive eat.” Local bands take the stage to rock the night. On July 22, yogis of all ages will enjoy the One Whirl Yoga Fest and Healthy Lifestyle Expo. What could be better than a full day of yoga classes and healthful food vendors in the sun?
Dania Novack-Katz, Publisher, edible Hawaiian Islands, points to a few ongoing summer activities. Every Saturday, Kahuku Farms invites people to learn about their process of transitioning an area of the farm to Certified Organic. For another Saturday standard, Maui Chef’s Table is an intimate, seven-course meal featuring local food, served by Executive Chef Jeff Scheer at The Mill House at Maui Tropical Plantation.
Nancy & Ray Painter, edible Jersey, say that this 3-day Asbury Park Oysterfest is a Jersey Shore must-see. For a mere $3, you get 25 food vendors, crafts, and music from August 8-11. Dogs and bikes are welcome, too. Best of all, a portion of your $3 goes to a local charity, to be announced at the event.
Ann Curtis, Managing Editor, edible Louisville & the Bluegrass recommends The Kentucky Bourbon Affair from June 6-11 in Louisville, calling it “the ultimate bourbon fantasy camp and the only event that’s actually hosted by the legendary distilleries themselves.” There’s also the Slow Food Bluegrass Taco Challenge on June 17, a contest between Louisville’s chefs and a benefit for Slow Food Bluegrass’s School Garden Grant program.
Jill Melton, Editor & Founder, edible Nashville has a ton of Summer fun in her town. The Music City Hot Chicken Festival is the perfect way to spend July 4. There’s live music, a cooking contest, and of course, lots of spicy chicken. “Visitors can enjoy Hot Chicken from Nashville's best Hot Chicken establishments, cold beer from Yazoo and other delicious edibles from local vendors. The event ends at 3pm, when visitors can make their way downtown for the annual fireworks display.”
Celebrate late-summer tomatoes on August 11-12 at the 14th annual Tomato Art Fest. Enjoy contests for Ugliest Tomato, Best Tomato Haiku, tomato recipe, and much more. Costumes are encouraged!
The Music City Food + Wine Festival on September 15-17 is a great way to wrap up the summer. Kings of Leon, James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Jonathan Waxman, and many more notables will be featured this year. Saturday night’s Harvest Night will showcase more chefs than ever before, Pappy Hour returns, and new additions include a Friday Night Grand Taste Pavilion and a Sunday Gospel Brunch.
Ron Wallace, Publisher, edible Ojai & Ventura County says it’s all about the wine this summer. On June 11, don’t miss the Ojai Wine Festival. “At this 31st annual festival, enjoy 60 wineries, more than 250 selections of wine, a selection of 30 craft brews and live entertainment. Also an enhanced VIP tasting lounge.”
Amanda Burden, Publisher of edible Reno-Tahoe reminds us not to miss Good Spirits on June 22. Reno-Tahoe is one of the stops on Edible Communities’ 6-city tour. Get tix now, and enjoy expertly crafted drinks and dishes from the best distillers, bartenders, and chefs in the Reno-Tahoe region, as well as national and international spirit brands.
The Tahoe City Wine Walk on June 16 is a fun day of wine-sipping and window shopping. Or you can spend the last official days of summer at the Sierra Farm to Fork Festival on September 16, or at the Wine + Dine at Dolan Lexus in Reno, a benefit for Urban Roots on September 20.
Angela Covo, Editor-in-Chief, edible San Antonio shared a few ways to eat and drink for a good cause. On June 10, United We Brunch is THE way to brunch in San Antonio. “Brunch samples, breakfast cocktails and live music round out United We Brunch, all benefiting the Briscoe Western Art Museum.”
She also recommends the Texas Folklife Festival June 9-11. “Located on the grounds of the Institute of Texan Cultures on the UTSA Hemisfair Campus, the three-day event showcases the Lone Star State's diversity and rich heritage through a wide variety of ethnic food, music, dance, arts, and crafts.”
From August 12-26, eat your way around the city at Culinaria San Antonio restaurant week, which promises three-course prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner throughout the city. Choose from 97 restaurants!
Then, on August 26, the 3rd annual Whiskey Business benefits the DoSeum a beautiful kids museum. “Discover the best in Scotches, bourbons, and whiskeys, from locally-produced bourbons to single malts from Scotland, from small batches to single grains, from the new to the classics. Sample dishes from the hottest local restaurants. Enjoy music over a beer, a glass of whiskey, or a cigar.”
Stephanie Cameron, Publisher, edible Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos is hosting the Fermentation Fest in Albuquerque on June 24. "This all-day event will feature nine different fermentation workshops, including hands-on workshops, lectures, and tutorials.”
Head to Silver City on July 22 for the CLAY Farm-to-Table Fundraiser, which will raise money for a local Food Bank and the Silver City Farmer's Market and features vegetables grown by local teens in a summer internship program. Then, August 24-27, don’t miss the debut of the Angel Fire Food & Wine Roundup which celebrates “the best of western hospitality with notable chefs, wine makers and brewers. Join your friends, family and neighbors for drinks, food, dancing, classes, golfing, and more in one of New Mexico’s most iconic destinations.”
Grab a few more burgers before summer ends at the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown on September 8 in Santa Fe. “The Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown will spotlight some of New Mexico’s most notorious burgers and world-class chefs. Restaurants will compete for the chance to reign as the Green Chile Cheeseburger Champ”
Gretchen Schmidt, edible South Florida, suggests the 10th anniversary of Coral Gables’ restaurant week from June 5-25. Check out South Florida’s tropical fruit bounty at the Summer Fruit Festival, June 10-11. If you’re near Big Pine Key on June 24, go to the Tropical Fruit Fiesta for tropical groves and a chance to buy plants and get growing tips. Mango lovers won’t want to miss the International Mango Festival on July 1-2. And don’t let summer end before you hit Miami Spice from August 1 – September 30 for a chance to get a three-course meal from the very best of Miami’s restaurants.
Philip Solman, Publisher, Edible Vancouver & Wine Country is thrilled to sponsor FarmFolk CityFolk, a non-profit who organizes the Feast of Fields celebration every year. “Feast of Fields is a four hour wandering gourmet harvest festival that highlights the connections between farmers and chefs, field and table.” It’s held each year on a different farm – this year, in the Okanagan Valley (August 13), on Southern Vancouver Island (August 27), and in Metro Vancouver (September 10). They’ve held 50 Feasts in the last 21 years. Funds raised from these events support FarmFolk CityFolk’s work to cultivate local, sustainable food systems across British Columbia.