Best 2017 Washington DC Food Festivals and Events

Mark Your Calendar for the Best Annual Culinary Events of the Year

The Washington DC area hosts fabulous food festivals and events throughout the year. From local seasonal specialties to ethnic cuisine from around the world, the capital region is a festival-goer's paradise.   While there are dozens of large and small culinary celebrations worth checking out, these are the best annual events in Washington DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Mark your calendar and enjoy great food around the region. (Listed in chronological order)

  • 01 of 22
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    ••• Photo © Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

    Throughout the year.  Various Locations. Neighborhoods from across the Washington DC area host annual events (some twice a year) to encourage diners to try new restaurants and sample some of the best food in the region. Special menus are offered with reduced prices for a limited time. Enjoy Restaurant Week offerings in DC, Alexandria, Bethesda, Annapolis, National Harbor,  Frederick and more. 

  • 02 of 22
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    ••• Photo © Creative Crop/Getty Images

    January-April. Various Locations. Love chocolate? During the winter months, a few festivals in the Washington DC area focus on the world's favorite sweet treat. Learn about the history of chocolate and taste a variety of artisan products. The largest festival is held annually in February in Fairfax, VA.  

  • 03 of 22
    Cherry Food
    ••• © Zouryana-Ivchenko/Getty Images

    March 20-April 16, 2017. Various Locations. During the Washington DC 's most popular spring event, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, dozens of local restaurants serve cherry-infused dishes to celebrate the season.  From sumptuous entrees to decadent desserts, Cherry Picks show off the creativity of region’s culinary community and offer some surprising food and drink combinations.

  • 04 of 22
    Sushi
    ••• Sushi. © Hany Rizk / EyeEm/Getty Images

    April 8, 2017.  Washington DC. A major event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Japanese street party includes cuisine from more than 25 Japanese and Asian restaurants. The festival also features Japanese performances, martial arts demonstrations, interactive cultural exhibits and vendors selling Japanese products. The Japanese Culinary Arts Pavilion features cooking demonstrations and tastings throughout the day.

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  • 05 of 22
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     April 29-30, 2017. National Harbor, MD.  The waterfront food and wine festival includes tastings, cooking demonstrations and educational seminars on culinary and wine trends. More than 150 wines, spirits and beers are featured along with local and regional favorites. Three stages of live music and the beautiful Potomac River setting make this an ideal springtime event.

  • 06 of 22
    Food Festival
    ••• Food Festival. © Huw Jones

    May 21, 2017. Arlington, VA. The annual event is a lively street festival featuring the cuisine of more than 40 restaurants, live entertainment, arts and crafts, children’s activities and a farmer’s market. Proceeds benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center. 

  • 07 of 22
    Food Festival
    ••• Food Festival. &Copy; Getty Images

    Late May 2017.  Part of the annual embassy showcase, Passport DC. this event brings together a dozen embassy chefs to present signature delights in a friendly culinary competition. Awards are given for the Judges' Choice and People's Choice Award. Tickets are pricey but include cuisine prepared by embassy chefs from around the world, a top-shelf bar and silent and live auctions.

  • 08 of 22
    BBQ
    ••• BBQ. © Getty Images

    June 24-25, 2017. Washington DC. The annual event is a showdown between top BBQ restaurants from the Washington, DC area and around the country. Attendees enjoy food samples, cooking demonstrations, interactive displays and children’s activities. The nation’s best barbecue teams cook-off for over $40,000 in cash and prizes.

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  • 09 of 22
    Wine and Cheese
    ••• Photo © flyfloor

    June 2017. Alexandria, VA. The Food & Wine Festival at Oronoc Bay Park, is annual showcase of local cuisine with a full day of entertainment including music, arts and craft exhibits and children activities. Attendees sample food and wine from a variety of local restaurants and Virginia’s wineries. Local restaurants participate in a friendly competition for the best appetizer, the best main course and the best dessert. 

  • 10 of 22
    Taste of Wheaton
    ••• Photo © Taste of Wheaton

     June 2017. Wheaton, MD.  Downtown Wheaton hosts the annual food festival offering samples from local restaurants,cooking demonstrations, a craft beer garden, live musical performances and kids activities.  Proceeds benefit the Mid-County United Ministries food pantry.  

  • 11 of 22
    Food Festival
    ••• © Robin Marchant

    June 2017.  Reston, VA. Produced by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, the outdoor food festival at Reston Town Center offers two days of restaurants and community vendors, live entertainment, kids activities and a Wine ‘n Dine area.

  • 12 of 22
    BBQ
    ••• © Swalls/Getty Images

    June 16- 17, 2017. National Harbor, MD.  The original location of the beer sippin', bourbon tastin', music listenin', cigar smokin', and barbeque eatin' event. Your admission buys you a sampling glass so you can enjoy an ALL-YOU-CARE –TO-TASTE sampling of beer and bourbon. 

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  • 13 of 22
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    June 17, 2017. Washington DC.  Celebrating the rich intercultural diversity of the nation's capital, the festival features delicious foods from around the world, live entertainment, a fashion show and more. In its second year and held on the National Mall, this is a grassroots event organized by the community and businesses in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area.

  • 14 of 22
    Maryland Crabs
    ••• Maryland Crabs. © Glowimages

    August 19, 2017. National Harbor, MD.   The Festival is an ALL-YOU-CARE-TO-TASTE extravaganza with more than 65,000 crabs, lots of beer, arts & crafts, live music, and family activities.  With its prime location on the Potomac Riverfront, the festival sets up thousands of tables and chair and huge tents for crackin' to your hearts content. 

  • 15 of 22
    Maryland Crabs
    ••• Maryland Crabs. © Glowimages

    September 9-10, 2017.  Annapolis, MD.  The weekend event features fun competitions like the Capital Crab Soup Cook-off and an Oyster Shucking Contest, as well as live musical performances, craft booths and family activities. Top restaurateurs and chefs showcase Maryland's seafood specialties bringing people together from all over the East Coast. 

  • 16 of 22
    Oktoberfest
    ••• Oktoberfest. © Johannes Simon

    September and October 2017.  Various Locations.  The German themed celebrations feature Bratwurst, beer and wine, dancing, music, children's events and much more. The fall festivals are scheduled to coincide with the world's largest Volksfest Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

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  • 17 of 22
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    ••• Photo © Taste of DC

    October 7-8, 2017.  Washington DC. The premier food festival features tastings from more than 70 of DC’s best restaurants, live entertainment, a Beer Garden, a Wine Walk, a Farm-to-Fork Zone, interactive games and family entertainment, and local chef demonstrations. The Annual Ben's Chili Bowl's World Chili Eating Championship is one of the highlights of the day.

  • 18 of 22
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    ••• Photo © Georgetown BID

    October 2017.  Washington DC.  The food festival includes samples of signature dishes from Washington DC's best restaurants, craft beer and wine and a variety of entertainment for all ages. Local chefs face off, testing their culinary skill during the Georgetown Chef Showdown, judged by DC's top food experts and media. Awards are given for "Best use of Seasonal Ingredients", "Best Overall Dish" and "Best Way to Satiate a Sweet Tooth". Proceeds benefit the Georgetown Ministry Center.

  • 19 of 22
    Food Trucks
    ••• Food Trucks. © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    October 14, 2017. Washington DC. The food truck party recognizes the best food trucks in the District with live music, mobile retailers and games for the whole family. It is a celebration of small businesses in the heart of the nation's capital. 

  • 20 of 22
    Taste of Bethesda
    ••• Taste of Bethesda. © Taste of Bethesda

    October 2017. Bethesda, MD.  Downtown Bethesda restaurants prepare massive amounts of food and baked goods for the annual festival.  Participants sample cuisine from more than 50 restaurants, enjoy five stages of live entertainment and visit the kids’ corner for arts & crafts, face painting and balloons. 

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  • 21 of 22
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    ••• Photo © flyfloor/Getty Images

     October 2017. Ashburn, VA. The food and wine festival highlights the region’s culinary offerings showcased in scenic and historic settings stretching from stylish equestrian farms to the misty Blue Ridge Mountains. Attendees taste the finest in Virginia wines, meet top tastemakers and master winemakers, and sample cuisine prepared by celebrated chefs from around the country. 

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    Jacques Pepin
    ••• Jacques Pepin. © Metro Cooking Show

    December 2017.  Washington DC.  Held each year at the Washington Convention Center, the event includes more than 400 exhibitors including specialty food companies, caterers, party planners, personal chefs, kitchen planners and appliance manufacturers. The highlight of the weekend is the appearances and cooking demonstrations by award-winning local and national chefs.